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Harvard Medical School

In Brief: Marijuana Use Increasing Among Pregnant and Postpartum Women

NPR has published an article on the use of marijuana in expectant and new mothers, interviewing several mothers belonging to a Facebook group called “Pot Smoking Moms Who Cuss Sometimes.”

This is an issue we have covered before. We continue to see more and more women of reproductive age using marijuana in various forms.  While marijuana is viewed as a safe alternative for the treatment of various maladies associated with pregnancy, including morning sickness and postpartum depression, there is no data to support the use of marijuana for the management of these conditions.  

More concerning is the accumulated evidence that exposure to marijuana during pregnancy may be associated with adverse outcomes in children with in utero exposure:

The Effects of Marijuana on Embryo Development

Marijuana and Pregnancy: Not As Benign as Some Might Believe

Pregnancy and Marijuana: How Much Do We Really Know?

Prenatal Cannabis Exposure May Affect Fetal Brain Development

Intrauterine Cannabis Exposure Affects Fetal Growth

The report notes that we do not know the exact number of women in the United States who are using marijuana during pregnancy, in part because women may be reluctant to disclose this information to their doctors.  Although recreational cannabis use is now legal in at least eight states and the District of Columbia, at least 24 states consider substance use during pregnancy a form of child abuse, so that revealing the use of marijuana during pregnancy may trigger legal consequences and the notification of Child Protective Services.  

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) has issued a committee opinion on the use of marijuana in pregnant and nursing women, calling for ob-gyns to urge their patients who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy to discontinue marijuana use.  However, a recent study has indicated that many pregnant women using marijuana have not been informed of its risks.

Ruta Nonacs, MD PhD

 

Is Smoking Pot While Pregnant Safe For The Baby? (NPR Morning Edition)

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