I was taken aback by this stoplight the other day. Fallen over, still functioning, and confusing everyone who saw it. You have to pay attention – green does not always mean go.
Green does not mean go for pregnant women either, in a different way. Ohhhhh yes, we’re going to talk about that green.
We don’t really know how many women use marijuana during pregnancy … probably anywhere from 3 to 34%. Different regions have higher (helloooo Colorado) or lower levels of use, and women may be hesitant to disclose their use so we can’t get a proper count.
But we see the trend. More and more states are making it legal to use marijuana, both medically and recreationally. As of late 2015, 23 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana. Four of these states – Alaska, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado- have also legalized use of recreational marijuana. California keeps trying but failing.
But how safe is it in pregnancy?
There are no absolute answers, but a recently published composite review (yes, marijuana is getting press from all sides) assessed information from hundreds and hundreds of studies. They looked at risks and benefits for women using marijuana during pregnancy
Below, the quick and dirty:
Treatment of nausea and vomiting of pregnancy.
Increased risk of stillbirth
Neurodevelopment, behavior, and intelligence
Baby (fetal) growth restriction
A few other considerations
Associated with preterm birth?. Some studies say yes, most say no. Consensus is no.
Congenital anomalies? Nope.
Anything else? In high doses, marijuana can slow heart rate and lower blood pressure. In moderation or low doses, it can increase heart rate. Some common medications given during labor can also increase heart rate or lower blood pressure, so these meds shouldn’t be given. It basically makes anesthesia more complicated and potentially more dangerous, but not always.
Overall, I say use the same precautions you would with any other medication – it’s not considered safe in pregnancy, so don’t use it. But if you must – use in moderation, take the lowest effective dose to control your symptoms, and tell your doctor so she can help optimize your and your baby’s health.
Source: Torri Metz and Elaine Stickrath. Marijuana use in pregnancy and lactation: a review of the evidence. AJOG Dec 2015 761-778
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