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This sheet talks about exposure to marijuana in pregnancy and while breastfeeding. This information should not take the place of medical care and advice from your health care provider. Marijuana, also called pot, weed, or cannabis, is a drug that comes from a plant called cannabis. Marijuana can either be smoked inhaled or eaten edibles. Marijuana is an illegal substance in parts of the United States. However, some states allow marijuana use by prescription for medical purposes, and some states allow the sale of marijuana for recreational use.

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Earlier this year, I went so-called "Cali sober," cutting back on alcohol and introducing more marijuana. It's been a really positive change, with my focus, sleep, and even social life benefiting. Now, I'm pregnant yay! But I know there's research showing potentially harmful effects to the fetus, and I obviously don't want to hurt my baby.

Seems like everything meats, coffee, and even plastics you can't control poses a risk in pregnancy. How bad is marijuana really? Congratulations on your pregnancy!

And for making the healthy change away from booze, something we know can lead to permanent physicalintellectual, and behavioral disabilities in babies if consumed when pregnant. It's also pretty clear that tobacco use during pregnancy can increase the risk of premature birthbirth defects, and even infant death.

The research on cannabis use in pregnancy is less robust, and the findings less conclusive. But blanket recommendations can't get into nuances for the individual, and doctors can't always either — in some places, even telling your provider about cannabis use could get you reported to legal authorities. Let me summarize what some of the research does and doesn't show, and share advice I got from two women's health experts.

Marijuana (cannabis)

The most recent study — the largest of its kind to date, published in April — found that pregnant women with cannabis use disorder are more likely to deliver premature, underweight, and small-for-gestational-age babies than moms without the condition. Their babies even had a higher risk of death within the first year of life, though fortunately that was rare. Past studies have found the same linksas well as an association between cannabis use in pregnancy and children with lower IQs, attention problems, and more impulsiveness.

Experts say these connections make sense, beyond coincidence or other factors.

We know THC can reach developing children through the placenta, and newborns through breast milk. Plus, the compound can disrupt the endocannabinoid system, which plays a key role in supporting a healthy pregnancy and fetal brain development.

Tessa Crumea researcher at the University of Colorado's School of Public Health, told me the potential brain-related risks most influence her stance that there's no safe amount of marijuana in pregnancy. You can't ethically run a controlled clinical trial that involves giving some pregnant people weed and telling others to abstain in order to compare their birth outcomes. For that reason, studies can't show with certainty the impacts of the drug.

Other factors, like socioeconomic status, diet, and stress, can also influence the findings. One recent review of 40 studies on the topic looked at over 1, comparisons between groups of kids who were exposed to cannabis in the womb and those who weren't. They found there were only clinically ificant differences between the groups 4.

They also found that, for all kids, scores were only below a normal range of functioning in 0. This research has limitations too. Not all of the studies reviewed included data on what's considered "normal" functioning, so more children of cannabis users may have fallen below normal than were detected.

I'm pregnant and i don't want to quit using marijuana. do i have to?

The study also can't tell us about marijuana's potential impact on birth outcomes. But the researchers say it does show that the narrative of "marijuana is dangerous in pregnancy" is often oversimplified, which can stigmatize, and sometimes seriously penalize, women. If giving up weed le you to drink again, well, that's an unhealthy tradeoff.

If it means experiencing skyrocketing anxiety, sleepless nights, and debilitating morning sickness, doing so may not be worth it either. As Lynn Paltrowa lawyer who serves as president of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, told Insider, studies can't control for "the stress that would have occurred had it not been for the marijuana.

You're asked to make a lot of changes as a pregnant person, and that's not easy, though it may seem like it should be. A good mental health professional whom you can tell about your habit and desire to stop is a good place to start. They can prescribe behavioral or pharmaceutical tools to help satisfy whatever need your edibles were filling.

Test out safe ways to self-medicate, too.

When writer Rebecca Henderson was pregnant, she found bubble baths were relaxing, naps were "a trip," and TV shows could allow her to zone out or feel happy, she wrote for Mom. Make plans for how you'll handle temptations, ask the people you usually get high with to support your break, and give yourself some grace if your habits don't change overnight. Senior health reporter Anna Medaris Miller is here to answer all of your questions about pregnancy — especially the ones you don't want to bring to your doctor or even friends. As a journalist covering women's health for more than a decade, she'll mine the research, consult a range of experts, and give you the key takeaways.

Submit your question anonymously to Anna here. World globe An icon of the world globe, indicating different international options.

Marijuana during pregnancy: is it safe?

Get the Insider App. A leading-edge research firm focused on digital transformation. Anna Medaris Miller. Cannabis use in pregnancy has been linked with negative birth outcomes and brain development issues. But some people find the risk may be worth the trade-off of experiencing serious anxiety or nausea.

Should you smoke weed when you’re pregnant?

Pregnant with questions? Submit your question to Anna anonymously here for nonjudgmental answers. Visit Insider's home for more stories. Stay up to date with what you want to know.

Crystal Cox BI Photo pregnancy column.

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