Marijuana and pregnancy

During pregnancy, women are advised to avoid alcohol and recreational drugs which include marijuana. Drugs such as these can harm the unborn baby and in some cases, can lead to a premature birth.

There is a link between marijuana and developmental problems in babies which includes low birth weight.

But it is the developmental problems which cause the most concern.

Smoking and pregnancy is not an ideal mix and expectant mothers are advised to stop smoking to reduce the risk of health problems for both them and their unborn baby.

This equally applies to marijuana.

Risks of marijuana during pregnancy

There are potential risks to the baby during pregnancy if the mother continues to use marijuana. These apply whether she smokes marijuana on its own or with tobacco as a ‘joint’.

These include sudden infant death syndrome or ‘cot death’, premature birth or a condition called ‘placenta praevia’(low lying placenta).

Placenta praevia occurs when the placenta is near to or overlaps the cervix (opening to the womb) which causes vaginal bleeding.

THC and the unborn baby

If you smoke marijuana during your pregnancy then this has serious consequences for your unborn child. The primary chemical in marijuana known as ‘tetrahydrocannabinol’ or THC for short can have a harmful effect on the baby’s brain which also affects their behaviour.

Even relatively small amounts can disrupt brain maturation, especially emotional responses, and this may persist into childhood and beyond.

A baby who has been exposed to THC exhibits the following symptoms:

  • Tremors
  • Hitch pitched crying
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Fidgety/unable to respond to visual stimuli

Effects of marijuana during childhood

Once the child starts school these problems become more apparent. The child will demonstrate behavioural problems such as a lack of concentration, difficulty in problem solving, unable to memorise information and behavioural problems.

It is difficult to say whether these problems persist throughout childhood and into adulthood. These problems may worsen during this time or new problems appear as the child reaches their teenage years.

But there may be other factors involved. Developmental problems can occur for a variety of reasons which include recreational drugs so it is difficult to pinpoint an exact cause.

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