Legalized Marijuana Use Still Bad For Pregnant Women, Experts Issue Reminder

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald March 06, 04:00 am
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A Canadian province will soon sell marijuana in its liquor stores
As more states have legalized marijuana, experts tell pregnant women pot smoking is still bad for the baby.
(Photo : Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

It cannot be denied that there has been growing acceptance of legalized marijuana and pot smoking in some states across America following moves by lawmakers to decriminalize the substance. Experts, however, recently issued a warning to remind the public that marijuana use is still bad for pregnant women despite being legal.

Data obtained by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) from the National Vital Statistics Reports revealed the rising numbers of pregnant moms using marijuana in states where it is legal. Dr. Leena Nathan of UCLA Health-Westlake Village said some women might be turning to pot smoking in the first trimester of pregnancy to manage discomforts like morning sickness and nausea, according to UCLA Newsroom.

Such a habit, however, is still risky for the baby inside the mom's womb. Marijuana's main chemical, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can hamper brain development in the fetus, which could result in decreased IQ and attention problems when the baby is a lot older.

A study on the risk of marijuana use during pregnancy supported this claim. It was published in the JAMA journal.

OB-GYN Dr. Katrina Mark said she's not convinced on the rise in the number of pregnant women smoking pot. She has not, however, discounted the fact that legalized marijuana in some states could trigger a trend. "Now that it's legal in 29 states and more socially acceptable, more women might feel comfortable admitting it," Mark said, per Fox News.

The experts say pregnant moms with discomfort and difficulties should not hesitate to talk with their doctors about safer relief and solutions. Most pregnancy-related issues in the first trimester are treatable anyway and there are plenty of proven over-the-counter (OTC) medications for those.

The doctors also said they are aware some pregnant moms might prefer marijuana versus pharmaceutical drugs as it is more organic and natural. Countless of studies over the years, however, have shown that unlike OTC drugs, the effects of marijuana to the fetus could be long-term and permanent, thus it's riskier.

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