Cannabis use during pregnancy

Cannabis use during pregnancy
Cannabis use is not recommended during pregnancy. Here’s why.


Is it dangerous to use cannabis during pregnancy? Here are some questions and answers to shed light on the subject.

What are the effects of cannabis during pregnancy?

When a pregnant woman uses cannabis, she also exposes her unborn baby to the drug. That’s because THC, the chemical responsible for most of cannabis’s psychological effects, passes from the mother’s bloodstream through the placenta.

A number of studies have explored the effects of cannabis on fetal development, but results have varied. We do know that mothers who regularly smoke cannabis during pregnancy are at greater risk of having a premature or low-birth-weight baby. Professionals therefore recommend caution and advise pregnant women to avoid cannabis use.

Should I be worried if I smoked a joint before I knew I was pregnant?

The more cannabis you use, the greater the potential risks to your unborn baby. If you smoked one joint before you knew you were pregnant, it’s unlikely that your baby will be affected. The important thing is to stop using cannabis for the remainder of your pregnancy.

What about edible cannabis products?

Cannabis edibles are not recommended if you’re pregnant. Regardless of how you consume cannabis, your baby will be exposed to its effects.

Can my partner and friends smoke cannabis in my presence?

Those around you should always step outside if they want to smoke. They should never smoke while in the car with you. Just like tobacco smoke, cannabis smoke is bad for the baby.

Should I talk to a health care professional about my cannabis use?

Yes, don’t hesitate to speak to your prenatal care provider. A doctor, nurse, or midwife can monitor your pregnancy and give you the support you need. Having an honest conversation is the first step in finding a solution that’s right for you.

What should I do if I want to stop using cannabis?

Your prenatal care provider can help. If necessary, they can also direct you to local resources to help you through this process. Finally, you can contact your CLSC or specialized addiction resources in your region.


What about other drugs?
All drugs can pass through the placenta and potentially have a negative impact on the pregnancy and fetal development. That includes cocaine (crack, coke), ecstasy, hallucinogens (LSD, mushrooms, etc.), solvents, amphetamines (crystal, ice, or speed), and methamphetamines and opiates (heroin, morphine, methadone, etc.).
Some of these drugs can also cause the baby to experience withdrawal after birth. Symptoms may include inconsolable crying, irritability, trembling, and feeding difficulties. What’s more, some drugs can have long-term effects on the infant.
If you use recreational drugs, talk to a health care professional. They can offer support and ensure you have a healthy pregnancy. If you want to stop using, they can also direct you to the right resources.

 

Things to keep in mind

  • A pregnant woman should not use cannabis.
  • A pregnant woman should not be exposed to second-hand cannabis smoke.
  • A pregnant woman who uses cannabis should inform her prenatal care provider.

Resources

Drugs: Help and Referral (DAR)
Phone: 514-527-2626 or 1-800-265-2626 (24/7)
Website: www.drogue-aidereference.qc.ca

 

Naître et grandir

Scientific review: Dr. Louis-Xavier D’Aoust, family doctor, ICSUSS du Centre-Sud-de-l’Île-de-Montréal and Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal
Research and copywriting: The Naître et grandir team
August 2018

 

Photo: GettyImages/nd3000

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