April 20, 2018

The Long-Term Effects of Marijuana on Mother and Baby

effects of marijuana on mother and baby

The increase of legalization of marijuana does not decrease the concern for the effects of maternal and fetal exposure during pregnancy and potential negative outcomes on the child.  The legalization of marijuana, does however, suggest the potential for growing use, even during pregnancy.

National survey suggest that reproductive-aged women believe that little or no harm will come to the fetus when used recreationally (once to twice weekly). The practitioner’s job is to distill the data that exists in the academic world and distill it for patients for both use and knowledge. In the case of marijuana and its increasing use, the defining data is not yet present. However, the lack of data on the long-term effects of marijuana on mother and baby is not a surrogate for lack of harm.

As practioners, we can only tell patients that we cannot provide data that says absolutely it is not safe, but also cannot provide reassurance.

The early studies do implicate marijuana (cannabis) exposure and early fetal outcomes. There may be effects of fetal growth, adverse effects on cognitive function and increased attention problems. In 2014, a review demonstrated a possible increase risk in neonatal ICU admissions (1.5 fold increase marijuana: no marijuana exposure). However, there are mixed studies which did not demonstrate such significant results. Contradictory results underscore the elements related to exposure and effect.

With the possibility of harm, it seems the more conservative route of limiting or negating exposure from the maternal lifestyle is best.  As there are no known benefits from marijuana on the maternal-fetus union, only the potential for risk prevails.

If you have questions about your fertility or what is safe nor not safe during pregnancy, please contact us! We are here for you.

Additional blogs about marijuana and pregnancy:

Marijuana Risks to Fertility and Pregnancy

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Danielle Vitiello, Ph.D., M.D. Board-Certified in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility