Pregnancy, with all the joy it brings, can be downright draining. From swollen feet and exhaustion to heartburn, some symptoms of pregnancy are miserable. The worst culprit, across the board, is “morning” sickness—or constant sickness, as many of us who’ve experienced it like to call it.
The constant nausea, wooziness and dizziness send many expectant moms scrambling for relief in any way possible. The ability to keep just one sip of ginger ale and a Saltine cracker down would be relief enough!
So what’s an ailing mom to do when nothing alleviates morning sickness? Some moms have found help in a highly (no pun intended) unusual and unlikely place: marijuana. Some doctors have even recommended it!
We’ve seen moms across the internet share anecdotes of their experiences with marijuana during pregnancy. Those who claim to have a positive experience say that their marijuana use gave some relief from the constant nausea, and allowed them to keep food down. Some women argued that without marijuana, their babies’ health would have been at jeopardy.
Other moms shared disgust, arguing that smoking marijuana during pregnancy is a harmful and irresponsible thing to do at a time when every action you take affects your unborn child.
There’s no doubt this topic is a controversial and heated one—it’s a war that’s been waged for decades. So, we decided to take a closer look at what research has shown to be the possible side effects, both negative and positive. What we found may surprise you…
Dr. Melanie Dreher, Dean of University of Iowa’s College of Nursing, and Associate Director for the University’s Department of Nursing and Patient Services, conducted extensive research on babies that were exposed to marijuana in utero. Her research showed that there were no negative effects on the babies who had been exposed.
Indeed, her research showed that at 1-month, the babies of mothers who used marijuana showed “better physiological stability” than their counterparts. At age 5, there was found to be absolutely no physiological difference between the children of mothers who had used marijuana while pregnant, and those who had not.
Surprisingly, there are few studies that have shown moderate marijuana use to have adverse effects on the baby. The studies that have shown marijuana use to have adverse effects are inconsistent, and the purported effects relatively minor.
For example, one study claimed that marijuana affects a baby’s birth length; but the difference in length between babies that were exposed to marijuana and those who were not was a mere two-tenths of an inch. Another study showed that marijuana affected birth weight, but only among certain races. One study showed no effect on weight, but a slight effect on gestational age.
Compared to the clearly devastating and marked effects that alcohol and tobacco can have on a baby, these effects do seem to be rather minor. So, should an expectant mother feel no qualms about rolling a joint every time a wave of queasiness rolls in? Well, not exactly.
Research on this subject is inconclusive at best. Bear in mind, it’s a well documented fact that when you inhale smoke, the baby’s oxygen supply is decreased. Lack of oxygen is associated with low birth weight and other birth defects. In addition, marijuana is illegal in most states and the risk of serving jail time or having Child Protective Services become involved is very real. Weighing those consequences with morning sickness relief may give some moms reason to reconsider.
Inconclusive research aside, if there are any risks involved whatsoever, is it really worth endangering the health of your unborn child?
Moms, we want to know: How do you feel about marijuana use while pregnant? Do you think the benefits outweigh the risks? Would you do it?