Risks of marijuana during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Marijuana is legal, but… Marijuana is legal, but can it can harm your unborn or nursing baby? It might. Health experts are still learning about how marijuana affects new babies as they develop. They all agree that marijuana use is NOT recommended during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

But it’s natural. Marijuana comes from a plant called cannabis. Scientists are beginning to learn how it could possibly be used for medical reasons.

However, pregnancy and breastfeeding are special times when unborn babies and new babies are growing their nervous systems. Marijuana may be very unsafe during pregnancy and for newborns. Why take a chance?

Babies are vulnerable. Smoking marijuana creates second-hand smoke. This is dangerous to any mom and any baby. Infants and children should be protected from second-hand smoke from marijuana as well as from cigarettes.

Children are vulnerable. Some marijuana looks like candy or cookies. People eat it. But if adults accidentally leave marijuana cookies or candy in reach of children, and the children eat it, they can get very, very sick.

Being “high” affects your judgment. A parent needs to think clearly at all times. This is especially true if there’s an emergency with your baby or child, no matter what the reason. Because marijuana is a mind- and mood-altering drug, you may not be able to think clearly when you are using it.

Marijuana and nausea Some pregnant women use marijuana because they have nausea and think the marijuana will help them feel better.

While this may help, it is not safe for the baby. There are healthy ways to manage nausea in pregnancy. These include eating 2–3 plain crackers or a little dry cereal before getting out of bed. Another is eating small, frequent meals, and also avoiding strong smells. Read more about healthy ways to deal with nausea here.

Are you on WIC? Your WIC educator can offer suggestions to relieve your nausea.

What about breastfeeding? It’s best not to use any marijuana during nursing. Health experts advise mothers who use marijuana to stop, or at least cut down.

However, breastfeeding is so important to the baby’s health that if a mother decides to use marijuana, most health experts advise that mothers continue to breastfeed regardless.

Breastfeeding reduces risks of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and protects babies in many other important ways.

What do the experts say? What do the experts at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) say about marijuana use and pregnancy? Read more here.