Parents Gone to Pot: Why Smoking Marijuana While Pregnant is Irresponsible and Dangerous

By Catherine Salgado on July 10, 2019

As marijuana is legalized in more areas and the use of the drug (in various forms) is becoming increasingly more prevalent, many women are beginning to take the drug while pregnant. Unfortunately, this is not only irresponsible toward your unborn baby, but it is also downright dangerous.

via Pixabay

Marijuana comes from the Cannabis sativa or Cannabis indica plants, which contain a compound called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). THC is a “mind-altering drug” which induces a “heightened sensation” or a “high.” This high can minimize pain and nausea and make the person more relaxed and artificially “happy.” This explains why pregnant women, experiencing various pains and complications on top of stress and perhaps depression, find marijuana desirable during pregnancy. Many women smoke it, and others, uncertain whether smoking the drug damages their babies, use it in other forms such as edibles.

Unfortunately,  medical research shows that “any form of marijuana can affect a fetus’s growth and development,” as a study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) emphasizes. Cannabinoid pharmacologist Dr. Heather Bradshaw explains that, although nothing is conclusive, research shows that the THC in any form of marijuana can increase the chances in an unborn baby of schizophrenia and affect the baby’s motor development. Marijuana can also affect memory, sensations (including the appearance of colors), bodily movement, thinking and problem-solving.

There are many other bad effects connected to marijuana use by pregnant women: low birth rate, an increased risk of stillbirth, potential neurodevelopmental issues (as, for instance, behavioral problems that surface later in life), impaired fetal growth, and an increased risk of premature birth.

While medical marijuana is sometimes prescribed to help with morning sickness/nausea, no research proves this is either safe or effective. In fact, since morning sickness occurs early on in pregnancy when the baby is more vulnerable, it is even more dangerous to use marijuana at that point than later on during the pregnancy.  The CDC and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists do not recommend marijuana use by pregnant women.

The argument might be made that the inconclusive nature of the research or the relaxation and cessation of pain or nausea in the mother might justify marijuana use, but that is a view both selfish and irresponsible. No amount of ambiguity justifies putting your child’s life and wellbeing at risk, and recommending marijuana simply because the “high” artificially and temporarily “solves” your discomfort is selfish and lacking any solid scientific basis. It seems that marijuana use while pregnant is just one more instance of parenting going to pot.

Hi! I am a rising junior at Christendom College double majoring in Classics (Classical Languages) and Theology. I am the eldest child in a family of five kids and was homeschooled all the way up until I went to college. My hobbies include writing novels and articles, reading, knitting, drawing, playing piano and ukulele, and making jewelry. Post graduation, I hope to become a full-time journalist.

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