The Risks of Using Cannabis During Pregnancy: A Closer Look
Pregnancy is a complex and exciting time, but it comes with responsibilities. Among these is the need to be cautious about what we put into our bodies. The list of things you can’t do and medicines you shouldn’t take will be the first, and possibly, the most important conversation you will have with your obstetrician when you find out your are pregnant. Cannabis is on the list.
Today, we’ll discuss why it’s crucial for pregnant individuals to avoid using cannabis during this significant period. While marijuana is a topic of ongoing debate for its various uses, when it comes to pregnancy, medical experts agree that it potentially poses risks to both the mom-to-be and the developing baby. Of course many medicines, including other natural therapies, fall into this category- cannabis is not alone. Your obstetrician will explain the things you can and cannot take while pregnant. In short, put cannabis on the “do not take” list, for everyone’s benefit. Let’s take a look at why.
- Concerns About Baby’s Growth:
Let’s start with the baby’s growth. Cannabis contains a compound called THC, and during pregnancy, this can reach the baby through the placenta. Research suggests that exposure to THC might affect how the baby’s brain develops, potentially causing problems with thinking and behavior later in life.
- Low Birth Weight Risks:
Using cannabis during pregnancy has been linked to an increased chance of having a baby with low birth weight. This might sound minor, but low birth weight can lead to serious issues, including a higher risk of the baby not making it through infancy, delays in development, and more health problems during childhood.
- Impact on Baby’s Brain Development:
The baby’s brain is like a little construction site during pregnancy. Cannabis can disrupt the building process, potentially causing issues with learning, paying attention, and overall cognitive abilities in the child.
- Mom’s Mental Health Matters:
Pregnancy is a time when a person’s emotions can go on a rollercoaster ride. Adding cannabis to the mix can make things worse, leading to increased feelings of anxiety and depression. What’s more, using cannabis during pregnancy has been linked to a higher chance of experiencing depression after giving birth.
- Preterm Birth Worries:
Studies are hinting at a connection between using cannabis during pregnancy and having a baby born too early. Preterm birth can bring its own set of problems, like trouble breathing for the baby, delays in development, and the need for extra medical care.
- Breastfeeding Considerations:
Even after the baby arrives, if the mom is using cannabis and breastfeeding, the baby might get exposed to THC through the breast milk. Considering how vital breastfeeding is for a baby’s health and development, it’s wise for moms to avoid cannabis during this time.
- The Unknown Long-Term Effects:
We know some immediate effects of using cannabis during pregnancy, but the long-term consequences are still not fully understood. The baby’s development is a complicated process, and with so many factors at play, it’s tough to predict all the possible effects of cannabis exposure in the long run. So, to play it safe, it’s recommended to stay away from cannabis during pregnancy.
Let’s emphasize the importance of making informed decisions during pregnancy. Steering clear of cannabis during this time is a simple but significant way to ensure the health of both the mom and the baby. Some patients may feel compelled to consider their cannabis therapy to help with mood, morning sickness and other things. But being a mother-to-be means looking at things from how they impact both mother and baby. While discussions about marijuana continue, the evidence pointing to potential risks during pregnancy is something to take seriously. It is important to support expectant moms in making choices that prioritize the well-being of themselves and their babies, setting the foundation for a healthy start in life. Talk honestly with your obstetrician and follow their advise closely. When meeting with your cannabis specialist, be sure to explain if you are, or plan to become, pregnant. In this interest of you and your baby, this may impact your qualification for this important therapy.
Dr. Nicholas Marsh has been a respected board-certified anesthesiologist in Northern Virginia for over 35 years. Recognized as a top doctor by FindaTopDoc.com, his vision for providing top-quality medical services is driven by his passion for patient comfort and dignity.