Marijuana Use During Pregnancy
We all know how important it is for expectant mothers to be the healthiest they can be during pregnancy. Whether the pregnancy is planned or not, to be healthy not only for themselves but also their unborn child is of utmost importance. Anything a pregnant woman exposes her body to also affects her unborn child. So, if during pregnancy a woman uses marijuana, her unborn and still-developing baby is also affected by the substance. The chemical THC found in marijuana can cross over the placenta very easily, allowing for effects that are stronger than to a grown adult, to occur.
We know that using pretty much any sort of drug, including over-the-counter drugs and alcohol, can cause damage to the baby growing inside of an expectant mother. Even smoking cigarettes during pregnancy can cause things like low birth weight and birth defects. So, using marijuana in any form can cause permanent damage to an unborn baby.
Effects Of Marijuana On Gestating Fetuses
Long-term effects of THC on babies is an issue up for debate, but what is known is that it can affect their brain development, including cognitive abilities. Like alcohol, marijuana use during pregnancy can cause many problems that will follow your baby throughout their lifetime.
On a long-term basis marijuana use during pregnancy can affect a child or an adult from a mental health perspective. Those who have had a mother who used marijuana during pregnancy may even be able to develop a list of mental health and/or physical issues they now deal with in adult life. These could range from ADHD to depression and even serious addiction later in life.
Many studies show that one of the biggest issues associated with marijuana use during pregnancy is low birth weight and the potential for the baby needing to spend time in the NICU. The problem, however, is that there is not much research to say what other things may happen to the developing child. Researchers have yet to determine if the different ways in which marijuana is used– smoked, eaten, or ingested in some other form –has any effect on what happens to a baby.
Some women who used marijuana prior to becoming pregnant believe that marijuana will not affect their baby and some even have the feeling or belief that marijuana use while pregnant can actually help their baby. This is just not the case. The use of any drug, regardless of its seemingly “natural” form, can cause problems for an unborn baby. Just because a drug is “legal” does not make it safe. For instance, we know that alcohol has many damaging effects on a baby and alcohol is legal. We similarly know that many prescribed medications need to be reduced or not taken at all during pregnancy because of the harm it may cause to the developing child.
Marijuana as a drug has becoming increasingly controversial. The drug in most forms slows a user’s thought processes. It affects the brain, the body, and can have damaging effects to memory, the central nervous system, and development from childhood to adulthood. But, some pregnant women believe that it can help with morning sickness and relieve a host of issues commonly associated with pregnancy. But using something that has yet to be proven safe for a growing fetus shouldn’t be risked. Obstetricians prescribe several safe alternatives for relief of morning sickness and other issues. Those drugs are set into a classification level that determines potential harm to the baby and can therefore be selected by a mother based on medical studies and evidentiary knowledge.
Not Enough To Know
One thing we know for sure is that there just isn’t enough information or research available on marijuana use during pregnancy in order to make an informed decision to use. The best thing that any mother or mother-to-be could do in the case of drug use and pregnancy, is to abstain altogether. Just as we know that alcohol, cigarettes, heroin, cocaine, or really any other drug can cause major harm to an unborn child, including too much caffeine, we can be certain that some things just aren’t worth the risk.
For many people today, smoking marijuana in general is something they enjoy and has become a part of their lifestyle on a regular basis. The desire to relax, destress, and have fun is at times more important to some than their own health. Just as many of us may enjoy a drink after a long day at work, others may find that marijuana use provides a similar level of relaxation.
But again, use, even as an adult, is not well studied. Differing opinions come into play that lend to an idea that smoking anything at all is carcinogenic, can trigger cancer cells to metastasize, or worse. In the developing stages of life, babies are susceptible to an unknown number of serious issues, some of which may not even present themselves until later in life. In other words, what you do now, while a child develops inside of you, could be the catalyst for deadly cancer to emerge when your child is 40.
Being Healthy Is Best
While we can’t know and prevent every possible situation in our children’s lives, there are some more obvious things we can avoid while we begin the process of becoming loving parents. Being pregnant and not smoking marijuana because of pregnancy may be a good chance to learn some new coping skills to reduce stress levels and start forming a healthy environment for your little one.
Cutting out the things that we know are capable of causing harm is also a good idea at this stage. Without a doubt, drug use of any kind should be stopped during a pregnancy. Most obstetricians will say, “if you aren’t sure, don’t use it.” If you have a cold, ask before taking medications like Robitussin or Sudafed. Even over-the-counter drugs can pose serious side effects that could cause damage in the womb or even lead to a miscarriage.
Other healthy goals may be to quit smoking cigarettes before a planned pregnancy, be ready to cut alcohol out of your lifestyle, and to find new ways to destress and enjoy the feeling of growing a life inside of you. Pregnancy itself can be a reason to get healthy and begin new things in life, like exercising, eating better foods, and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule.
As a new parent you are going to want your child to have the best possible life that you can provide. Start providing that life today by bringing a healthy baby into the world. There is no need to wonder whether or not marijuana may harm your growing baby. No questions are needed if you simply stay on a healthy track, and cut drugs and alcohol out of your life.