You may have heard from friends that it’s OK to use marijuana when
you are pregnant. Think again.
Studies indicate it’s not safe, and many myths exist around marijuana
use and pregnancy. Campbell County Memorial Hospital
Maternal Child Services wants you to know that pregnancy and marijuana don’t mix.
American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) recommends women do not use marijuana while trying to get pregnant,
during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Marijuana use may impact a growing
baby’s brain, according to the ACOG. If you have questions, please
talk to your
doctor. Below are some myths about marijuana and pregnancy.
Myth: Marijuana is safe to use while pregnant or breastfeeding
Fact: You cannot eat or use some foods and medicines while pregnant or breastfeeding.
This is because they might harm the baby. This includes marijuana.
Myth: Since it is legal in some states, it must be safe
Fact: Using marijuana during pregnancy can harm your baby, just like alcohol
or tobacco. Being legal does not make it safe. Marijuana use is illegal
in the state of Wyoming.
Myth: Since marijuana is natural, it must be safe
Fact: Not all natural substances or plants are safe. Tobacco and poisonous berries
are great examples. Marijuana contains THC, which may harm a baby.
Myth: Marijuana won’t harm your baby
Fact: Some researchers found that marijuana may be bad for children whose moms
used marijuana during pregnancy. Some children did not do well in school
when they were older. It may also make it hard for your child to pay attention
Myth: Marijuana is a safe treatment for nausea during pregnancy
Fact: THC in marijuana may harm your baby. Talk to your health provider about
safe choices that do not risk harming your baby.
There is no known safe amount of marijuana during pregnancy
Tetrahydrocannanbinol (THC), the chemical in marijuana that makes you
feel “high”, passed from the mother to the unborn child through
the placenta. The unborn child is exposed to THC used by the mother.
Using marijuana while you’re pregnant passes THC to your baby
Use of marijuana is associated with negative effects on exposed children,
not matter when it is used during pregnancy. These negative effects include
decreased ability in school, mental and thinking functions as well as
the ability to pay attention. These effects may not appear until adolescence.
Some people think that using a vape pen or eating marijuana is safer than
Smoking marijuana has the added risk to the mother and baby of harmful
smoke exposure. However, using marijuana in edible or vaporized form still
exposes the baby to THC. The safety of vaporizing marijuana (or tobacco)
is unknown, but marijuana in any form may be harmful.
THC in marijuana get into breast milk and may affect your baby
Any THC consumed or inhaled by the mother enters her breast milk and can
be passed from the mother’s milk to her baby, potentially affecting
the baby. THC is stored in the body in fat. A baby’s brain and body
are primarily made up of fat. Breast milk also has a high concentration
of fat, with some studies suggesting and eight-times higher concentration
in milk. Because THC is stored in fat, it remains in the body for a long
time and is found in breast milk.
Marijuana should not be used while breastfeeding
Because of the potential risks to the baby, the American Academy of Pediatrics
(AAP) states that marijuana should not be used while breastfeeding. At
this time, there is limited research on breastfeeding and marijuana use,
including the amount of THC in breast milk, the length of
time THC remains in breast milk and effects on the infant.
"Pumping and dumping” breast milk does not eliminate the risk
of marijuana use
Because THC is stored in body fat, it stays in your body for a long time.
This means “pumping and dumping” your breast milk will not
work the same way it does with alcohol. Alcohol is not stored in fat so
it leaves the body faster. It is unknown how long after any use of marijuana
that it is safe to breastfeed or how long THC remains in breast milk after
occasional marijuana use as compared to regular use. Even though alcohol
leaves the body faster, there is still no level of alcohol in breast milk
that is considered safe for a baby either.
Being high while caring for a baby is not safe
Do not let anyone who is high take care of your baby. It is not safe for
your baby to sleep with you, especially if you are high. Secondhand smoke
is also not safe for your baby. Marijuana use can affect a person’s
ability to care for a baby. It is appropriate to ask about marijuana or
other substance use before letting another person care for your baby.
Secondhand smoke from marijuana has many of the same cancer-causing chemicals
as smoke from tobacco. A smoke-free environment is safest and healthiest.
Do not allow smoking in your home or around your baby.
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