Q&A: Can marijuana use in pregnancy hurt the baby?
What happens to a baby if you smoke marijuana during the first five months of pregnancy?
THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, crosses the placenta to the developing baby. There have been reports of concerns with length of pregnancy, the quality and duration of labor, fetal growth, congenital defects, and neurobehavior in the newborn.
One of the biggest problems in studying the effects of marijuana on babies is that most users use other substances that can hurt their babies, such as nicotine, cocaine, LSD, and alcohol. But just because you may use only marijuana should not reassure you. In fact, the growth retardation associated with marijuana use is independent of the bad effects of other drugs.
The risk of childhood leukemia in children of marijuana smokers who smoked during their pregnancies is increased TEN TIMES over the risk in the general population.
Carbon monoxide in a woman’s blood is FIVE TIMES higher than after smoking nicotine!
I think this is a good sociological test you can take when considering taking any risks with your unborn child:
Ask yourself if you would hire a babysitter knowing that he (or she) would expose your toddler to the very thing you’re exposing your unborn child to. For instance, would you allow a babysitter to get your 2-year-old child stoned? Drunk? Would you trust the babysitter if he let your children hang out in a closed garage with a car running? Would you let a babysitter inject your child with a drug that would increase his or her chances of developing leukemia ten times the chance rate? Would you hire a babysitter who would stunt your child’s growth through physical binding or poor nutrition? Would you hire a babysitter you know would abuse your child?
This is crazy, right?
Right now, YOU’RE THE BABYSITTER! And besides these known possibilities, there are the unknowns. If your child were born with behavioral problems, won’t you always wonder about your “babysitting” during the pregnancy?
If you’re asking this question because you are the person using marijuana, please stop and fess up to your doctor so that you and your baby can be checked out. If you’re asking about someone you’re concerned with, please know that these effects are possibilities and that many pregnancies end up fine. But this should give no false assurances. This person’s doctor still needs to know as soon as possible. And if this person refuses to report this, you may want to call your state’s child protection services and they can advise you on what can be done legally to intervene on the baby’s behalf.