How Does Marijuana Affect Pregnancy


This post will discuss the potential effects of marijuana use during pregnancy. It will examine scientific research looking at the possible risks associated with using cannabis during pregnancy, as well as considerations for pregnant women who are considering marijuana use. Additionally, this post will explore potential alternatives to marijuana use while pregnant.

Effects on Pregnancy

Marijuana use during pregnancy can have serious health risks on a woman’s developing baby. Some of the potential health risks that marijuana use can have on a pregnant woman and her baby include an increased risk of stillbirths, low birth weight, preterm labor, developmental problems with the baby, increased risk of cognitive issues, poor academic performance among children who were exposed to marijuana in utero, and a higher incidence of birth defects. Marijuana use during pregnancy can also potentially lead to changes in brain structure and nervous system development for the baby. Additionally, marijuana use can also impact the placenta which is responsible for providing essential nutrition to the developing baby in utero. This could result in restricted growth of the baby or other health complications. It is important for pregnant women to speak with their physicians before using any type of drug or substance while pregnant as it could potentially harm their unborn child.

Effects on the Baby

Marijuana use during pregnancy is associated with a number of risks to the unborn baby. When marijuana is used, its psychoactive ingredient THC crosses the placenta and enters the fetus’s bloodstream. This can cause premature delivery, low birth weight, or congenital defects in the baby. Marijuana may also lead to poor development of brain structures and functions, resulting in an increased risk of learning difficulties and related behavior disorders in adulthood. The frequent use of marijuana while pregnant may increase the odds that the unborn baby will suffer from fetal growth restriction (FGR). This means that the baby does not grow as it should throughout pregnancy due to short-term restriction of nutrients from the mother’s blood supply.

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In addition, studies have focused on newborn behaviour following prenatal exposure to THC in marijuana. Studies show that babies exposed prenatally may be more irritable and have difficulty sleeping as well as higher stress reactivity as compared to those who were not exposed. Long term behavioural consequences such as cognitive impairment, psychiatric disorders and changes in educational outcomes can also be observed in children born to mothers who smoked marijuana during their pregnancies.

Effects on Birth Defects

Marijuana use during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of a type of birth defect known as neural tube defects that affect the head and spine. Additionally, a small number of studies suggest that infants exposed to marijuana while in the womb may have slower cognitive development, lower IQ scores, and increased impulsivity compared to those who were not exposed. This can potentially lead to learning issues and difficulties with concentration later in life. In addition, women who smoke marijuana during pregnancy have a higher chance of having their baby born prematurely and with a low birth- weight which can lead to health complications for the newborn.

Other Risks

Using marijuana during pregnancy can lead to other risks that often go unrecognized. Impaired judgement is one of the more serious effects of marijuana in pregnant women; this decreased sense of judgement can impair decision-making and result in poor behavior choices. Consequently, mothers may be more likely to use additional substances or neglect health practices that could benefit their pregnancy. Studies have also found that using marijuana has the potential to inhibit motor abilities and worsen concentration. This can lead to difficulties with attending school or work, which can bring further complicating factors into the life of a pregnant woman.

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Responsible Use

If you choose to use marijuana while pregnant, it is important to do so responsibly. Some tips and advice on how to use marijuana responsibly while pregnant include consuming smaller amounts of marijuana over a long period of time, using a vaporizer instead of smoking it, only consuming high-quality product from reliable sources, and talking with a doctor about any potential risks. Additionally, you should avoid mixing marijuana with other drugs or alcohol. In addition, it is recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding refrain from using marijuana since the impact on unborn or nursing babies can be unknown.


Research indicates that marijuana use during pregnancy can have negative long-term effects on the developing fetus. Marijuana exposes the mother and developing baby to by-products such as carbon monoxide, which can reduce oxygen to the baby. Researchers suggest that tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, may pass through the placenta where it can affect fetal development. Studies have also suggested correlations between low birth weight and infants prenatally exposed to marijuana whereas other studies have linked prenatal marijuana use to an increased risk of cognitive disabilities, psychiatric problems, and behavioral issues in children later in life.

It is important for pregnant women to speak with a medical professional before they decide whether or not they will consume cannabis while pregnant. For more information, women should consult with their healthcare provider regarding their individual situation. Additionally, further research is warranted to better understand how prenatal use of marijuana affects infants both short-term and long-term.

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