Tuesday, May 7, 2019

5 Things You Need to Know about Marijuana Use during Pregnancy

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Marijuana is constantly stirring a lot of controversies concerning its effects on health and wellness, and this uncertainty is the reason it still hasn’t been fully legalized in all states. Recreational marijuana use is still illegal in most states because of the negative effects that it may cause, which is why it is alarming that a lot of pregnant women today report to having used them or to using them regularly.

Generally, if you’re an expectant mother, then you’re at your most fragile, at least health-wise. Everything that you eat, drink, smoke, or put on your skin can affect the baby you are carrying. And if you use marijuana, then you can also expect it to have a certain effect on your unborn child.

To help raise awareness on these effects, here are the things you need to know about marijuana use during pregnancy.

Marijuana Crosses the Placenta

Marijuana, also scientifically known as Cannabis sativa, is consumed by marijuana users for medical and recreational purposes, be it in the form of leaves, stems, seeds, or roots. Medically, it claims to alleviate symptoms such as nausea and morning sickness, which is probably why many pregnant mothers use the drug.

However, it is found that the main compound found in marijuana that causes major intoxicating effects, known as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can cross the placenta and therefore enter the baby’s bloodstream.

Currently, there is limited research on the effects of THC on the fetus. Particularly, clinical trials become a challenge since some pregnant women may deny or downplay their use of the substance.

Moreover, some also drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, which complicates the results even more. Because of this uncertainty, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, together with other health authorities, urge you to steer clear from marijuana altogether.

Marijuana May Affect the Baby in Utero

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 20 women in the US reports to using cannabis while pregnant. Whether or not these women are aware of the possible consequences that marijuana use can have on their child, it should be a cause for concern as this fact has been linked to a number of pregnancy complications.

There are a number of studies that show that the daily or weekly use of cannabis can increase the chances of a high-risk pregnancy. It has been linked to low birth weight, premature birth, or smaller heads at birth, along with the increased risk of stillbirth.

It May Have an Impact on the Child’s Development

Diagnostic medical ultrasound transducers will help you confirm that your placenta is healthy and that the baby is growing properly in the uterus. However, it may not detect an alteration in the baby’s brain. In particular, the child may develop cognitive and memory impairments growing up. A lot of scientists and medical experts believe that pot use during pregnancy may even have some impact on the child’s behavior.

Studies show that children born to mothers who are marijuana users may do poorly on memory, cognitive, and behavioral tests in comparison to other kids. There are also researches that show lower test results in educational subjects like math, spelling, and reading comprehension.

Marijuana May Have an Effect on Lactation

Marijuana components can be passed on not only through the placenta and into the baby’s bloodstream but also through the mother’s breastmilk. THC can be stored in fat, which may be slowly released over time through your milk when you breastfeed. This means that your baby can still be exposed to the chemicals of marijuana even after you have stopped using it.

While there are limited and conflicting studies on the effects of marijuana on lactation and breastfeeding, experts recommend avoiding marijuana use altogether to limit its potential risk to your infant. There are also marijuana detox kits available if you want to continue breastfeeding.

Medical Marijuana Use during Pregnancy Is Discouraged

While marijuana has been legalized in some states for medical use, you are still advised against marijuana use if you are planning to conceive. Medical marijuana is difficult to regulate in general and even more so during pregnancy.

According to the ACOG, there are no standard dosages, formulations, recommendations, and delivery systems set for the use of cannabis for medical purposes. And while some midwives or care providers may prescribe its use to relieve the symptoms of pregnancy, you can find plenty of alternative treatments that you can consult with your doctor.

If you are pregnant, you are advised to always be mindful of your health as everything you do or take can affect the health of the child in your womb. While marijuana may relieve the temporary discomforts of pregnancy, there’s no assurance on the lasting impact it may have on the baby’s life.

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