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smoking weed when pregnant

What You Need to Know About Marijuana Use and Pregnancy

Fast Facts

  • Using marijuana during pregnancy may impact your baby’s development. 1–7
  • About 1 in 20 women in the United States reports using marijuana while pregnant. 8
  • The chemicals in any form of marijuana may be bad for your baby – this includes eating or drinking, creams or lotions applied to skin, smoking, vaping and dabbing. 9
  • If you’re using marijuana and are pregnant or are planning to become pregnant, talk to your doctor.

Marijuana use during pregnancy can be harmful to your baby’s health. The chemicals in marijuana (in particular, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC) pass through your system to your baby and can harm your baby’s development. 1–7

Although more research is needed to better understand how marijuana may affect you and your baby during pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant women do not use marijuana. 17

CDC Fact sheet on marijuana use during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Women who are pregnant, thinking about becoming pregnant, or breastfeeding should not use marijuana.

The Effects of Smoking Weed While Pregnant

Weed is a drug derived from the plant Cannabis sativa. It’s used for recreational and medicinal purposes.

What a mom-to-be puts on her skin, eats, and smokes affects her baby. Weed is one substance that can potentially impact a developing baby’s health.

Weed (also known as marijuana, pot, or bud) is the dried portion of the Cannabis sativa plant. People smoke or eat weed for its effects on the body. It can cause euphoria, relaxation, and enhanced sensory perception. In most states, recreational use is illegal.

Weed’s active compound is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This compound can cross a mother’s placenta to get to her baby during pregnancy.

But weed’s effects during pregnancy can be difficult to determine. This is because many women who smoke or eat weed also use substances like alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. As a result, it’s tough to say which is causing a problem.

Weed is the most commonly used illicit drug during pregnancy. Studies have tried to estimate the exact number of pregnant women who use weed, but results vary.

According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), 2 to 5 percent of women use weed during pregnancy. This number goes up for certain groups of women. For example, young, urban, and socioeconomically disadvantaged women report higher rates of use that reach up to 28 percent.

Doctors have linked weed use during pregnancy with increased risk for complications. These may include:

  • low birth weight
  • premature birth
  • small head circumference
  • small length
  • stillbirth

Researchers mostly study the effects of weed use during pregnancy on animals. Experts say exposure to THC can affect a baby’s brain development .

Babies born to mothers who smoke weed during pregnancy don’t have serious signs of withdrawal. However, other changes may be noted.

Research is ongoing, but a baby whose mother used weed during pregnancy may have problems as they get older. The research isn’t clear: Some older research reports no long-term developmental differences, but newer research is showing some problems for these children.

THC is considered a developmental neurotoxin by some. A child whose mother used weed during pregnancy may have trouble with memory, attention, controlling impulses, and school performance. More research is needed.

What a mom-to-be puts on her skin, eats, and smokes affects her baby. Using weed during pregnancy can be dangerous for your developing baby-to-be. THC can have an effect on your baby’s brain development and types of available weed can vary. Here’s why doctors recommend that you not smoke weed if you’re expecting.