The difficulties of pregnancy have moms to be searching for ways to ease their minds and bodies. They reach for ginger ale, crackers and sea sickness bands to help with morning sickness. They try yoga, deep breathing, and omega 3 fatty acids to help with anxiety that may arise. Now though, more and more women are turning to another remedy for both problems: marijuana.
According to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association moms to be in California—especially those under the age of 24—are increasingly using marijuana during pregnancy. In fact, in women under the age of 18 more than one in five admits to using the drug while pregnant.
"Some of these women could be under the impression that because marijuana is increasingly accepted, and soon will be legal in California, that it's okay," said Melani Harker, MD, an OB/GYN with University of Utah Health. "However there are many things that pregnant women are advised to avoid. Take for instance alcohol use, eating sushi, and scuba diving. All are legal, but can impact the pregnancy and the developing fetus."
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends women avoid marijuana use during pregnancy as well as when a mother is breastfeeding. The Centers for Disease Controls says marijuana use during pregnancy can impact birth weight, affect developmental milestones, and lead to addictive behavior later in life. "Chemicals found in marijuana, like THC, can pass through the mother's system into the baby," said Harker. "Those chemicals can have a significant impact on the baby's development."
As the acceptance of marijuana grows across the nation more pregnant women will wonder if it is a good remedy for the ails of pregnancy. While a lot of alternative literature may tout the healing properties of the drug the answer from the established community is, for now, a resounding no. "It all comes down to what risks you want to take," said Harker. "When it comes to the health of your baby the answer is simple. Don't use marijuana while pregnant."