The ongoing debate on pregnant women and marijuana continues, with several doctors and scholars researching the effects of the drug on the fetus. Several studies conducted over time have varying conclusions on the use of marijuana with pregnancy. The use of the drug is however characterized as either for recreational or medicinal use, therefore blurring the line between whether it should be used by pregnant women or not. Marijuana Rehab can help recover.
Statistics on pregnancy and marijuana use
According to reports, women who use marijuana while pregnant have a 2.5% chance of giving birth to a stillbirth baby. Around 20% of pregnant women who have been screened have marijuana in their system. These women were found to be below the age of 24.
Local dispensaries were often found to be recommending marijuana to pregnant women to help them handle nausea. This, therefore, showed that self-reported cases could be inaccurate, as more than half of pregnant women could be using marijuana.
The risk of pregnancy and miscarriages in pregnant women does not have any statistical backing, however, pregnant animals have been seen to have miscarriages after persistent use of marijuana. Thus, this has left many questions in regards to taking marijuana while pregnant and how safe it can be.
Marijuana has evolved over the years with more concentrations of THC being concentrated in today’s products. The high levels of THC pose even greater risks to pregnant women and their unborn children, a fact that many have since overlooked.
Is it safe to take marijuana while pregnant?
Marijuana contains chemicals, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, which when passing through the mother’s system harms the development of the baby. Therefore, pregnant women are advised against taking marijuana while pregnant, to aid in the proper development of the baby.
Despite the numerous crusades advocating the benefits of marijuana use in pregnant women, the practice still poses fundamental risks to both the mother and the child.
The effects of marijuana on the mother and child may cause detrimental issues thereby making it very unsafe for marijuana to be involved. Pregnant mothers should refrain from marijuana use until they conceive and finish their lactation cycle.
Effect of marijuana on the pregnancy
Some pertinent factors affect the pregnancy as a result of taking marijuana while still carrying a baby:
- Low birth weight
Marijuana can influence the baby weight’s by making them not being able to acquire the necessary nutrients needed to form the mother. As a result, the baby will record low weight during childbirth.
- Cognitive disorders
There are reports from research conducted on pregnant mothers who used marijuana while pregnant. The babies were discovered to have a slower cognitive function than those who didn’t.
A compound in marijuana is responsible for slow thinking and attention management. Thus, this will, later on, affect the child and slow down their comprehension rate. As the child grows older, they become slower in performing some vital cognitive functions.
Children also have difficulty employing problem-solving skills necessary during their growth. They are unable to retain long periods of memory and have difficulty staying attentive for long periods.
- Respiratory developmental problems
The smoke often characterized by marijuana affects the lungs of the mother. That may cause the child to have respiratory development problems once they are born.
Such children will end up being prone to asthma and difficulty in breathing, as their lungs were already compromised before birth. This is the same for tobacco or vaping.
- Chemical influx through breastfeeding
The THC compound found in marijuana is stored in fat and gradually released over time. Therefore, the mother might have stopped marijuana use, but as long as she is breastfeeding, the child will be ingesting the marijuana through the breast milk, thereby causing further damage to the baby, like decreased motor development.
THC affects brain development at the early stages, thus impacting how the child grows up. Although no concrete data has shown the concrete correlation between breast milk and marijuana, such a practice is not advocated for.
- Altered responses to visual stimuli
Research made on children has also shown the altered effects of visual stimuli in children exposed to marijuana before birth. For instance, some children had a high-pitched cry.
Meanwhile, others experienced trembling and shaking. Most children had abnormal patterns when it came to social interactions as they exhibited symptoms of antisocial patterns.
Effects of marijuana on the mother
The mother is also affected by the long-term use of marijuana. For instance, the mother might experience permanent lung damage.
That is due to excessive smoking thus affecting the lungs and respiratory organs. The levels of oxygen are also affected as there is less air coming in as a result of smoking. This heightens the chance of asphyxiation.
Marijuana impairs judgment thus putting someone at risk of either falling or injury. A pregnant lady will be more susceptible to fall or stumble, putting the child at a higher risk of injury.
The quality of life of the mother is obviously affected. Instead of focusing on the well-being of her health, the focus shifts to where to get more marijuana, thus neglecting responsibilities that would have sought to help both her and the baby.
Considerations for marijuana usage and pregnancy
Gynecologists should refrain from prescribing marijuana to mothers during pregnancy, preconception, and breastfeeding. Be it for medicinal uses or not, mothers should abstain from using marijuana from the moment they realize they are pregnant until they stop lactating.
Practitioners should advise mothers on other therapies to cope with other than marijuana. For instance, taking on meditation and yoga can aim to replace the feeling of euphoria that one seeks from marijuana.
Women using marijuana frequently should be sensitized and counseled regarding the adverse effects the drug has on their bodies, and most importantly on their child’s development.
Practitioners should advise women that using marijuana to help with morning sickness only causes further damage than good. This consequently harms the child putting them at higher risk of much more serious complications.