Should women refrain from smoking weed while they are pregnant? Can the use of this so-called ‘safe drug’ by pregnant women adversely affect their unborn child? Here’s a write-up that focuses on the side effects of smoking weed during the course of pregnancy.
Weed, marijuana, or pot is considered as a ‘safe drug’ amongst the community of drug abusers. It is safe in a sense that it is not as hazardous as other stronger recreational drugs. Weed, therefore is the most widely abused drug in the United States. It can be consumed orally, or smoked in hand-rolled cigarettes, pipes, or water pipes. Smoking pot is also a common practice among women of all ages, without the exception of pregnant women. Some of the women who smoke pot, continue using it during the course of pregnancy, primarily due to the ‘safe drug’ tag attached to it. But is it safe to smoke weed while you are pregnant? Let’s find out what studies have revealed.
Effects of Smoking Weed during Pregnancy
Since the fetus gets all its nourishment from the mother’s blood, women must be extremely careful about their lifestyle during the course of pregnancy. Most pregnant women cut down on their intake of caffeinated drinks, and refrain from smoking cigarettes and consuming alcohol so as to prevent any damage to their unborn child. However, it is not uncommon for some women who smoke weed to continue using it during the first trimester of pregnancy and then quit it as they progress into third trimester. However, some studies state that smoking weed in first trimester may have as many risks as smoking in late pregnancy. During the first trimester, your baby’s vital organs have just started to develop. Hence, smoking any such substance at this critical stage can be risky.
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is a harmful ingredient in weed, which can enter placenta and cause some undesirable effects on the baby’s nervous system. The insufficient oxygen and blood supply is believed to cause low birth weight in babies. It may also put you at a risk of having a preterm labor. A low birth weight or smaller gestational age could make your baby susceptible to various infections, severe jaundice, feeding problems, respiratory troubles, etc. These infants may also be at a greater risk of death due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Children of mothers who smoked pot during pregnancy are believed to be vulnerable to having more behavioral problems than children whose mothers did not smoke. These children may be at a risk of developing autism, attention deficit hyperactivity, poor judgment, short term memory, etc. Although there is no clinical evidence to support this theory, a correlation between smoking and these disorders has been suggested through years of studies by experts.
Arguments Given in Favor of Weed
There are many women who believe that it is entirely safe to smoke pot during pregnancy. This belief stems from the fact that they have seen scores of mothers who smoked during their pregnancy and yet had perfectly healthy children. Indeed, there are a number of women who had normal pregnancies and delivered healthy children, irrespective of the use of weed. However, it’s best not to rely on what others say. Not every woman may have the same response to weed.
The confusion also arises due to conflicting theories or studies. For instance, in a study by Dr. Melanie Dreher and colleagues, no adverse effects were observed in children of women in southeast Jamaica who used cannabis occasionally for the treatment of nausea. On the other hand, studies by investigators at the University of Bristol in Great Britain stated that children of women who used tobacco, alcohol, or cannabis during pregnancy were at an increased risk of experiencing psychotic symptoms. A study from Adelaide University suggested that smoking pot could increase the possibility of a woman going into early labor.
Though there is a lack of sufficient clinical evidence regarding the hazards of pot during pregnancy, and you may feel encouraged to smoke weed with accounts of women experiencing relief from morning sickness after smoking weed, using this drug is not the only solution to cure it. There are a number of natural remedies that can comfort you.
Though marijuana does seem to offer certain health benefits, and its supporters stress on the need to legalize marijuana for treatment of certain conditions, studies need to be done to ensure that its therapeutic benefits outweigh the risks associated with it. As far as its effects on pregnant women is concerned, you will come across conflicting theories. Pregnant women must therefore consider all aspects before they take a decision to smoke or not. Also do remember the old adage, ‘it is better to be safe than sorry!’