While medical marijuana is legal in 36 states and recreational marijuana is legal in 19 states, the use of marijuana is increasing in pregnant women at a regular pace. The advertisement of marijuana for morning sickness in pregnant women is also increasing its trend and use. Without knowing the effects of smoking marijuana in pregnancy, many women are opting for it. Most importantly, if you smoke the chemicals in breast milk can pass to your baby while breastfeeding.
Do using marijuana causes birth defects in the baby and when you should stop weed while pregnant. Keep on reading to get the authentic answer to your queries.
Can You Smoke Marijuana While Pregnant?
Various school of thoughts exists about the use of marijuana in the pregnancy but the most valid fact is it is harmful to the baby in many ways. The active compound of weed is THC that crosses the placenta of the mother and enters the fetus causing various complications. But the mothers also use others drugs like tobacco or alcohol, so the exact effect of weed on the fetus is still controversial. Different stats and studies have been conducted regarding the use of the drug in pregnancy but the result varies. It is shown that weed is the most commonly used drug during pregnancy either for sickness or recreational use.
According to the survey of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, about 2 to 5% of the women use weed during pregnancy with the highest rate of urban and young women to about 28%.
Another stats by study reveals, from 2009 to 2016 there is a double to triple increase in the mothers’ ratio who use marijuana in pregnancy. The ratio increased from 4 to 7%-there is a significant need for awareness among pregnant women to make their baby safe and healthy from the consequences of marijuana.
The dispensaries are playing their part in misleading the moms about the use of marijuana for morning sickness. In a study, 400 dispensaries were tested about the use and prompt of marijuana. The results finding were as: 65% recommended marijuana to pregnant women based on their personal opinion for morning sickness while 36% stated that marijuana is a safe drug to use in pregnancy.
A study by Young Wolff’s Team at Kaiser Permanente shows that odds of using marijuana among pregnant women with severe nausea and vomiting were four times greater than those who don’t have nausea and vomiting.
Some moms consider using vape pens and marijuana in the form of cookies or other food. Still, these products also contain THC-the same level of danger for the babies.
Clearly the American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists states that the use of marijuana in pregnancy and breastfeeding should be prohibited. Because there is insufficient data about the harmful effects of marijuana on the baby. But still, it is a potential risk factor for pregnant women regarding their baby health.
Consequences of Smoking marijuana on a baby
Doctors and research associate weed use during pregnancy with various issues in her baby. Even the safest amount of marijuana is not safe for the baby of a pregnant mother. Some of the serious issues are listed as:
Premature birth: use of marijuana during pregnancy can lead to premature birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy while the normal birth constitutes 40 weeks.
Low birth weight: from the short length to small head size, your baby can have a lower weight (less than 5 pounds) as compared to normal. A clinical study reveals that women who use marijuana give rise to infants that are 84.2 grams lighter than those babies whose mothers don’t use marijuana.
Poor Brain development: THC may enter the brain of a baby causing poor brain development.
Stillbirth: the birth of the baby that dies in the first 28 weeks of pregnancy in the womb-alternatively known as miscarriage or abortion.
Withdrawal Symptoms in Babies
It is an established fact that smokers’ babies show signs of withdrawal of drugs. The babies may be jittery, excitable, and at more risk of respiratory diseases. How severe are the symptoms and how long do they last depends on various factors including the drug dosage. Generally, the symptoms start from the first 24 hours after the birth-some babies experience late withdrawal symptoms after two weeks of birth. Withdrawal symptoms in the baby can include:
- Increased breathing rate
- Difficulty in feeding
And many more. The symptoms’ intensity decrease with time and can last up to months triggered by further drugs exposure.
Aggressive Behavior: A clinical study of 20,000 children whose mothers smoke weed showed aggressive and rule-breaking behavior.
Anemia: As per the findings of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine “mothers who use marijuana before, during, or after pregnancy has a greater risk of anemia in their child”.
Marijuana and Breastfeeding: Does Smoking Weed Affect Your Milk and Baby
The story doesn’t end here but the consequences of marijuana also extend to the child after birth. If you smoke weed and breastfeed your child, then it is definite that you are transferring the THC from the breast milk to your baby. The THC gets stored in the body fat of the baby and is released over time period.
Marijuana also affects the quality and quantity of breast milk production. Various clinical studies and research shows up the effect of marijuana on baby as follow:
- The child is at more risk of neurodevelopment disorder leading to trouble with memory, learning, abnormal pattern of social interactions, and difficulty in school performance.
- The child may have to spend time in the NICU regarding various issues like slow weight gain, tremors, seizures, and altered sleep patterns.
- Breastfeeding with marijuana may lead to depressive symptoms in the baby.
- Research also shows that mothers who use marijuana chronically and breastfeed, their child also suffers from substance use disorder.
How Long Does the THC Remain in the Breast Milk
How long does marijuana stay in breast milk and is detectable varies from person to person. According to FDA, THC can remain for about 6 days in the blood.
A study published by the journal Obstetricians and Gynecology reports the analysis of the mothers who use marijuana while breastfeeding. The starling stats show that the infants receive about 2.5% of the maternal marijuana dose equivalent to about 8 micrograms of THC per body weight per day.
The exact period for which the THC stays in the breast milk is not known because the THC is stored in the body fat and is released over time into breast milk. Therefore, the applications of “pumping and dumping” is not valid for the THC.
Can Smoking Weed Affect a Pregnancy Test
Smoking weed cannot affect a pregnancy test. Because the pregnancy tests detect the HCG hormone in the body. The women’s placenta produces the HCG hormone in case of pregnancy-test can detect it a day after your missed period. The birth control pills and antibiotics can interfere with the pregnancy test results in the form of false positive or false negative.
When Should I stop smoking Weed while Pregnant?
As the organizations like the center for disease control and prevention, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American Academy of Pediatrics recommend there is no safe amount of cannabis to use while pregnancy. In simple words, it is best to quit using CBD-containing products before you are trying to conceive and strictly prohibit the use of marijuana if you are pregnant. You could not say which proportion of THC would be harmful to your baby to what extent. So, if you are pregnant and breastfeeding your child, don’t use marijuana.
Could You Smoke Pot Around Your Baby?
As by the statement, there is no safe and risk-free level for marijuana, you should not smoke pot around your baby even if you are not breastfeeding. Secondhand marijuana also adversely affects the baby leading to many serious issues like respiratory infection, ear infection, and asthma attacks.
What to do If You use Medical Marijuana?
Though it makes a difference between the controlled use of medical marijuana and the recreational use of cannabis. But the point is the same here, THC is known to cause several defects in pregnant women. There is a deficiency of facts to support the legal use of medical marijuana and illegal use of recreational marijuana. From a health and safety point of view, it is best to avoid marijuana either is medical or not. As stated above the THC is associated with poor fetal outcomes, withdrawal symptoms, and after-birth effects. Dr Tishler recommends “you should consult your doctor and adopt the alternative safer treatment rather than medical marijuana.
Could Your Baby Test Positive for the Marijuana If You Smoke Weed?
Definitely, your baby can test positive for marijuana if you smoke weed. Nurse can test your baby’s first stool for the detection of marijuana. In many hospitals, the child is tested after birth for various drugs. As per the rule of various hospitals and states, the pediatricians are mandated to inform the child protection services if your baby test positive for drugs. The record will be kept safe for the future and you will be in considerations.
Research and studies on the clear facets of marijuana, pregnancy, and breastfeeding are controversial and deficient. No clear evidence shows that marijuana is harmful to the child in what proportion, time, and frequency. But if you smoke a single cigarette a day, your child is at great risk of complications from fetus to the after birth. Skip using marijuana a few weeks before you are trying to conceive or as soon as possible when you are aware of the pregnancy. Don’t use marijuana while breastfeeding and around your child if you don’t breastfeed. Your child will definitely show withdrawal symptoms with time. As per suggestions of various organizations and experts, strictly prohibit marijuana in pregnancy and breastfeeding, either it is medical or recreational.