According to evidence-reports, more and more women in America are using cannabis during their pregnancy. These reports state that there is a 1.4% increase, from 2% up to 3.4% over the last year. However, experts say that cannabis use during pregnancy may result in neurological abnormalities. “We found that prenatal cannabis use doubled among nonmarried women — from 5% in 2005 to 10% in 2014,” Sehun Oh, PhD said.
With the increasing laws and regulations applied to cannabis use, so has the number of people using cannabis grown, including pregnant women. There are 33 states, plus the District of Columbia, have officially legitimized medical cannabis use. Furthermore, 11 states have legitimized recreational marijuana use.
The increasing number of pregnant women using cannabis has worried a lot of health experts who believe that the drug does affect the developing fetus inside their wombs.
The Study At Kaiser
The healthcare experts at Kaiser Permanente Northern California did a study on pregnant women who were using cannabis regularly or occasionally. These pregnant women were asked to fill out a questionnaire about their drug use in their initial prenatal checkup. The results revealed that between 2009 and 2017, there was an increase in pregnant women using cannabis of 1.43%, from 1.95% in 2009 to 3.38% in 2017. Of this population, 0.69% of these pregnant women were regularly using cannabis, while almost 1% was smoking the drug weekly.
Other clinical trials revealed that pregnant women used cannabis to replace medications for their pregnancy-related symptoms like headaches and morning sickness, perhaps because cancer patients were administered cannabis for their morning sickness. But health experts remind these pregnant women that the first trimester is the critical time of the pregnancy phase when the brain and other vital organs of the baby are developing inside the womb, so it is not the time to be using cannabis.
Cannabis Poses Risks For Pregnant Women
According to an article published two years ago, pregnant women who have been using cannabis once or twice a week had a higher likelihood of delivering prematurely and will most likely have infants with low birth weights. Additionally, the article noted that women who often used cannabis were also inclined to smoke cigarettes and other forms of drugs. “If marijuana is being used for recreational purposes, it is best to stop using it during pregnancy. It is also important to emphasize that marijuana is not unique in this regard,” Eugene Rubin M.D., Ph.D. says.
Apparently, more research and trials are necessary to effectively confirm the short and long term impacts of the use of cannabis among pregnant women, and this would include the frequent and occasional users as well.
Health Experts Against Cannabis Use For Pregnant Women
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists urges all pregnant women to keep away from using cannabis either for medical or recreational purposes due to the impending risks and unclear information about pregnancy and cannabis use.
The institution also reiterates that those who have been used to using cannabis and got pregnant must stop smoking it, as concerns about abnormal brain development and fetal exposure to the ill effects of smoking have tremendously risen. In the past, pregnant women who were reportedly using cannabis were not told by their doctors of its possible health risks and dangers. According to Ira J. Chasnoff M.D., “Long-term studies of children prenatally exposed to marijuana once again are consistent with THC’s action on the developing fetal brain, with significant deficits in aspects of cognitive functioning, focusing primarily on memory, behavioral regulation, and executive functioning, an aspect of regulatory control that is key to learning and to managing behavior.”
Some Pregnant Women Do Not Report Their Cannabis Use
Pregnant women who are under child protection services may face penalties for using cannabis, despite the fact that the specific state they live in legalizes its use. Also, some of these women hesitate to tell the truth because of legal issues. Health experts state that there are punitive laws executed to pregnant women who use drugs, who may do more harm eventually.
It was finally decided after the whole study that most, if not all, evidence led to the conclusion that cannabis use among pregnant women has no health advantage at all. Instead, it may lead to dangerous risks on babies, including preterm birth, low birth weight, and abnormal brain development.