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Marijuana and Pregnancy

Santa Clara County believes pregnant women should avoid using marijuana. 
There’s just too much at stake to risk hurting your unborn child.

 The research isn’t perfect, but there is evidence that marijuana can cause issues with your pregnancy and birth, and could create long-term problems for your child. 

 Our goal is healthy moms and healthy kids. You will decide what is best for you and your child. We hope the following information helps. 

For treatment please call Gateway at 1-800-488-9919.




Q: What if I reduce my marijuana use while I'm pregnant?
A: Using less marijuana is better, but we don’t know how much is too much. We think it's best not to use any during pregnancy.
Some research included women who also used alcohol and tobacco. How can we know what affected the babies?
A: It's true, there are flaws in some of the research. But there is enough good evidence to say that it's better to be safe than sorry.
Q: Marijuana is natural so isn't it better than a prescription drug from a doctor?
A: Marijuana comes from a plant, as does heroin and cocaine. Medications given by your doctor have been shown to be safe for pregnant women.
What if I just use edibles while I'm pregnant?
A: Edibles are healthier for adults than smoking, however, the marijuana enters your body it will still get to your baby.
Q:  Does smoking marijuana help with nausea or morning sickness. 
A: There is no research showing that marijuana helps with nausea or morning sickness. You should talk to your doctor to get safer alternatives.
Q:  Marijuana helps my anxiety and I can’t go nine months without some relief. 
A: Relaxation techniques, meditation or therapy can help with stress and anxiety. The websites: TheBump and BabyCenter , have advice for dealing with stress and pregnancy.
Q:  What about second-hand marijuana smoke?
A: Like cigarettes, marijuana smoke contains toxic chemicals which can go to your developing fetus.
Q:  If I smoke marijuana during pregnancy, will my baby have birth defects?
A: No, but your baby may have a lower birth weight, which may cause your baby to have health issues such as difficulty breathing, eating, gaining weight, jaundice, and fighting off infections.
Q:  What if I’m having a hard time quitting marijuana?
A: About 9% of marijuana users are addicted, and stopping for your pregnancy won’t be easy. If you need help, there are programs and support groups available.
Q:   My mother smoked marijuana during her pregnancy with me. Doesn’t that prove it’s safe for my baby?
A: Marijuana today is much stronger than it was 10-50 years ago. The average amount of THC in marijuana is about 10 times higher now.
Q:   If I smoke marijuana during pregnancy, will my baby have brain damage?
Marijuana can affect your baby’s brain development leading to doing poorly in school, trouble with thinking,  problem-solving, memory, planning, impulsivity, and attention.
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American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (July 2015). 

American College of Pediatricians (April 2017). Marijuana Use: Detrimental to youth.

Allshouse A., Conway D., Goldenberg R., Dudley D., Hogue C., Metz T., Saade G., Silver R., and Varner M. (October 2017). Maternal marijuana use, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and neonatal morbidity. American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology​

Abdel-Latif M., Chomchai C., Clews S., Falconer J., Feller J., Henshcke P., Jacques S., Kingsbury A., Oei J. (2014). Cannabis, the pregnant woman and her child: weeding out the myths. Journal of Perinatology, June 2014.

Astley S. (2018).  Smoking pot while pregnant is not a good idea. Seattle Times, May 1, 2018.

Baker T., Datta P., Rewers-Felkins K., Thompson H., Kallem R., Hale T., (May 2018).Transfer of inhaled cannabis into human breast milk. Obstetrics & Gynecology, May 2018, 131:5, 783-788.

Behnke, M. (March 2013). Prenatal substance abuse: Short- and long-term effects on the exposed fetus. Pediatrics, 131:3, 1009-1016.

Borgelt L., Brooks-Russell A., Crume T., Hall K.,  Juhl A., Wymore E., (June 2018).Cannabis Use During the Perinatal Period in a State With Legalized Recreational and Medical Marijuana: The Association Between Maternal Characteristics, Breastfeeding Patterns, and Neonatal Outcomes. Journal of Pediatrics.
Centers for Disease Control (2017). What you need to know about marijuana use and pregnancy.  
Center K., Christ C., Ehiri J., Gibbson S., Gunn J., Nunez A., Rosales C. (April 2016).Prenatal exposure to cannabis and maternal and child health outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis.  BMJ Open.

Chasnoff I., (Jan. 2017). Medical marijuana laws and pregnancy: implications for public health policy
American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology 

Chioma V., Frau R., Kalivas P., Melis M., Parolaro D., Rubino T., Spencer S., Zamberletti E. (Sept. 2015).New vistas on cannabis use disorder.  Neuropharmacology 
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (2016). Monitoring Health Concerns Related to Marijuana in Colorado 2016:Changes in Marijuana Use Patterns, Systematic Literature Review, and Possible Marijuana-Related Health Effects. 
Cornelius J., Day N., Kim K., Richardson G., Sonon K. ( 2015). Prenatal marijuana exposure predicts marijuana use in young adulthood.Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 47:10-15.  doi:10.1016/


Foeller M., Lyell D. (May 2017). Marijuana Use in Pregnancy: Concerns in an Evolving Era. Journal of Midwifery & Women's Health.

Hayatbakhsh M., Flenady V., Gibbons K., Kingsbury A., Hurrion E., Mamum A., Najman J.  (2012).Birth outcomes associated with cannabis use before and during pregnancy. Pediatric Research 71(2):215-19, February 2012.

Jew, C., Lu, H., Wu, C.,  (2011). “Lasting impacts of prenatal cannabis exposure and therole of endogenous cannabinoids in the developing brain.” Future Neurology. 6 (4):459-480.
March of Dimes (January 2017).
Metz T., and Strickrath, E. (December 2015). Marijuana use in pregnancy and lactation: a review of the evidence.American  Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, 761- 778.
Minnes, S., Lang A., Singer L., (July 2011). Prenatal Tobacco, Marijuana, Stimulant, and Opiate Exposure:Outcomes and Practice Implications.  Addiction Science and Clinical Practice.  6(1): 57-70 PMC3188826

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. (2017). The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research. The National Academies Press. Chapter 12: doi: 10.17226/24625.
National Institutes of Health, (December 2013). Tobacco, drug use in pregnancy can double risk of stillbirth.

 National Institute on Drug Abuse (December 2017). Research Reports- Marijuana.
Can marijuana use during and after pregnancy harm the baby? U.S Department of Health and Human Services. 

Jacques, et al., (2014). Cannabis, the Pregnant Woman and Her Child: Weeding out the Myths. Journal of Perinatology.  2014, 34: 417
Sonon K, Richardson G., Cornelius J., Kim K., Day N. ( 2015). Prenatal marijuana exposure predicts marijuana use in young adulthood.Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 47:10-15. doi:10.1016/
Soberian S. (Nov 2016). Developmental cannabinoid exposure: New perspectives on outcomes and mechanisms.Neurotoxicology and Teratology, 2016-11-01, Volume 58, Pages 1-4 

Varner, M., Silver, R., Rowland Hogue, C., Willinger, M., Parker, C., (January 2014).Association between stillbirth and illicit drug use and smoking during pregnancy. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 123(1), 113-25
Warshak, C., Regan, J. Moore, B., Magner, K., Kritzer, S., Van Hook, J. (2015).Association between marijuana use and adverse obstetrical and neonatal outcomes. Journal of Perinatology. December 2015, 12:991-995.

Last updated: 11/2/2018 12:32 PM