We’ve heard it for decades. “Don’t smoke while pregnant! It’s dangerous for the baby!” But they mean smoking cigarettes. What about marijuana?
It’s said to help curb morning sickness. As well as the aches & pains that come with pregnancy. If it helps the mother with all those, it can’t be all bad, can it?
Unfortunately, yes it can. In fact, smoking marijuana/weed/pot while pregnant is very dangerous for the baby. Let us explain why.
Is Marijuana Safer for the Body Than Cigarettes?
Technically, yes. But only technically.
Weed/Pot contains many of the same chemicals you find in cigarettes. Burning it causes the same chemical reactions, which cause toxic effects in the body.
Vaping and edibles avoid those chemical reactions…they’re less harmful to the body than smoking pot. But you’re still taking in chemicals like THC, which lingers in the body for weeks after consumption. Which means that marijuana edibles are safer than smoking, but not 100% “safe.”
How Does Marijuana Affect an Unborn Baby?
Everything a mother does while pregnant can have an effect on her child. Cigarettes, alcohol, and other substances can cause terrible effects to the baby’s health. Think fetal alcohol syndrome, prenatal addiction, birth defects, and so on. Devastating long-term conditions that can ruin the baby’s life before it even starts.
These effects come about because the child shares the mother’s blood supply while in the womb. Chemicals that get into the mother’s bloodstream—like alcohol, nicotine from cigarettes, or THC from weed—end up in the baby’s bloodstream too.
Smoking, vaping, or consuming marijuana does this as well. So yes, it does affect unborn babies.
What kind of effects does marijuana cause? Research gives us the following list:
- Learning difficulties
- Low birth weight
- Withdrawal symptoms
- Memory & attention problems (these findings are not consistent though)
- Aggression issues (measured up to age 10!)
The scariest effect: Marijuana use can make your child more vulnerable to foreign bodies…like deadly viruses. While still in the womb.
From Today’s Parent:
“There are more than 400 active chemicals in cannabis, some of which cross the placenta and enter the baby’s brain and tissue. Most research has focused on tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary psychoactive component of marijuana, and cannabidiol (CBD), the primary non-psychoactive component. After a pregnant woman uses weed, the amount of THC in her baby’s blood is about a third to a tenth of the level in her own blood. And CBD has been found to increase the placenta’s permeability, allowing for THC and other foreign substances to pass into the baby’s blood more easily.“
Need more proof? Here are quotes from several highly-rated medical research sources:
DrugAbuse.gov: “Research has shown that pregnant women who use marijuana have a 2.3 times greater risk of stillbirth.”
CDC: “Some research shows marijuana use during pregnancy may make it hard for your child to pay attention or to learn; these issues may only become noticeable as your child grows older.”
Science Daily: “…there is substantial evidence that exposure to cannabis in pregnancy is associated with having a low-birthweight baby, and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy discontinue cannabis use because of concerns about impaired neurodevelopment and exposure to the adverse effects of smoking.”
Marijuana is worse than a “risk” to your child’s health. It’s a direct threat!
Smoking Pot While Pregnant is Dangerous, to You and Your Child
Now we can answer the question. No, it is not safe to smoke marijuana/weed/pot while pregnant.
Despite this, many women do. About 1 in 20 women in the United States reports using marijuana while pregnant. You might think, “I’ll switch to vaping, that eliminates the smoke.” Unfortunately, this still introduces THC to the baby through your bloodstream.
We know it’s hard to give up a habit…especially if you think it helps your health. Marijuana use, however casual, is one habit we recommend you do give up. For your baby’s sake, if nothing else. It presents a risk to your baby. Now, it’s not as dangerous as a substance like meth. Nevertheless, it’s still a danger to an unborn, highly vulnerable baby.
Other, safer options do exist to help with morning sickness and pain. Ask your gynecologist for their recommendations.
More information on the effects of marijuana on babies: CDC.gov – What You Need to Know About Marijuana Use and Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant and having trouble stopping marijuana use, please contact us for help. We can help you stop the habit safely, and protect your baby’s health.
Did you smoke marijuana while pregnant? Please share your experience.