While marijuana is illegal at the federal level, it is becoming legal in more and more states, causing more mothers to inquire whether smoking pot is safe during pregnancy.
The data is still unclear regarding smoking pot while pregnant
When it comes right down to it, the data is still unclear as to whether smoking pot during pregnancy is unsafe. A recent study published in Obstetrics & Gynecology concluded:
Maternal marijuana use during pregnancy is not an independent risk factor for adverse neonatal outcomes after adjusting for confounding factors. Thus, the association between maternal marijuana use and adverse outcomes appears attributable to concomitant tobacco use and other confounding factors.
Even so, the study’s author and lead researcher, Dr. Shayna N Connor, shared her concluding opinions in an interview with NPR. Dr. Connor was quoted, “Any foreign substance that doesn’t directly benefit maternal or fetal health should be avoided.”
On the flip side of the coin, other studies have linked prenatal exposure to cannabis with anemia in the mother, developmental difficulties in children later on, etc. For every study that claims one thing, another study claims the opposite or adjusts for other factors (like the tobacco factor above) throwing the consensus up in the air again.
Whenever we lack definitive evidence one way or another, or feel there’s no notable health benefit to a mother or baby associated with the substance in question, the medical world errs on the side of caution.
Avoid Using Any Substance That Doesn’t Directly Benefit Maternal or Fetal Health
The team at Overlake appreciates Dr. Connor’s opinion on the subject – if there’s no known health benefit for mother or child, why take the risk?
Marijuana enters the mother’s bloodstream and alters her brain chemistry. This means the fetus is affected in some way shape or form because THC and the chemicals contained in the smoke, pass through the placenta.
Whether or not that has negative ramifications down the road has yet to be seen since data is so sparse, particularly on mothers who use cannabis-only during pregnancy, while remaining free of other chemicals, like tobacco or alcohol.
Note the Dr. Connor’s study was very clear that the use of tobacco during pregnancy does carry negative risks, not the least of which are pre-term labor and low birth-weight, and that smoking pot along with consuming tobacco increased these risks.
Marijuana negatively affects fertility
Another reason to avoid marijuana use is that it does negatively impact fertility. Multiple studies indicate that men who smoke marijuana are more likely to have a lower sex drive, may have lower testosterone levels and are at higher risk for low sperm count as well as poor sperm motility and morphology.
Female fertility is also in question, with a study showing that LH hormone levels might be lower in women who routinely smoke marijuana. Another study showed that when female mice routinely exposed to marijuana, fertilized eggs took longer to travel from the fallopian tube to the uterus, and to implant, which caused higher pregnancy failure rates.
Our opinion is that pregnant women should avoid smoking pot to eliminate any chances of it having a negative impact on their developing baby and/or the life of their future child.