Marijuana and Pregnancy

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Marijuana, like other pharmaceuticals and illicit drugs, is generally not recommended for use by pregnant women. Although the effects of marijuana and pregnancy are not fully known, recent research suggests that mothers who smoke marijuana while they are pregnant may impair the development of their unborn baby. Babies born to marijuana smokers have been shown to have lower birth weights and smaller heads that other babies.[1] However, other studies have shown that there may not be a link between marijuana and low birth weight or other birth defects.[2]

Long-term marijuana use by women may affect the menstrual cycle, and can lead to reduction in the hormones involved in reproduction and fertility. Experts recommended that neither the mother or father smoke marijuana when trying to conceive a child, as this drug can lower fertility and decrease the chances of a pregnancy.[3]

Flickr: tboothhk
Other names for marijuana Weed, pot, ganja, herb, buds, etc.
Manufacturer Various independent growers
Uses Prescribed for various illnesses, also used for recreation
Common side effects Bloodshot eyes, dry mouth, impaired cognitive function
Who should not take marijuana Pregnant women
The information provided by is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Do not take any action based on the information on this page without consulting a physician.
Author Susan MacDowell



Effects of Marijuana Use During Pregnancy

The effects of marijuana use among pregnant women have not been widely studied, so experts do not know all of the ways that this drug may affect fetuses. It has been shown, however, that THC (the active ingredient in marijuana) can enter through the placenta and reach the fetus. Heavy use of marijuana may affect the behavior of the child once it is born.[2]

One study published in Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry showed that marijuana has an effect on birth weight, with infants born to mothers who smoked marijuana being lighter and with smaller heads than babies who were not exposed to marijuana in the womb. This stunted growth can result in cognitive and behavioral problems. The study tracked nearly 7,500 expectant mothers, 214 of which reported using marijuana early in pregnancy. Mothers who quit upon learning they were pregnant had babies that were about 5.5 ounces lighter than the average. Mothers who smoked marijuana throughout their pregnancies had babies that were roughly 10 ounces lighter. Researchers noted that the low birth weights may be due to components of the marijuana, oxygen deprivation from the action of smoking, or other lifestyle factors such as stress that marijuana users may be more likely to have.[4]

Marijuana and Reduced Fertility

Research suggests that marijuana use can affect babies before they are even conceived by reducing fertility in men. It appears that when sperm are exposed to the THC in marijuana, they become hyperactive and begin swimming rapidly before they have a clear shot at an egg. Once the initial burst of energy runs out and it is time to swim to the target area, the sperm are burned out. The sperm may also be affected if the woman smokes marijuana. This is because the THC is present in the vaginal secretions and sexual organs, where it may be absorbed by the sperm.[5]

Drug Side Effects

Possible side effects of both prescription medications and nonprescription drugs

Pregnancy and Medications

Many prescription and nonprescription drugs have not been adequately studied in pregnant women, and therefore it is unknown whether or not they have the potential to harm a fetus. The same holds true for herbs and nutritional supplements, although prenatal vitamins are typically considered safe. Women who are carrying a child or nursing should inform a physician of any medicine or supplement that they may be taking.[6]


Also See: Marijuana, Marijuana and Intelligence, Marijuana Side Effects, Marijuana and Cancer, Marijuana and Anxiety, Marijuana and Alcohol, Methamphetamine, Marijuana and Glaucoma, Marijuana and Alcohol, Marijuana and Breastfeeding



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