Ah, motherhood. The things we give up for these little human beings. When you’re pregnant, there are a multitude of things you aren’t supposed to consume – goodbye alcohol, deli meats, and most medicines. While nursing gives you a little break, you’re still supposed to avoid certain medications and maybe that second/third glass of wine.
As I chat with my girlfriends and bemoan the things we gave up or are currently giving up for our babies, I asked what they thought of marijuana use while pregnant or breastfeeding. In our state, marijuana use is legal – just as that nice pinot noir you get to enjoy once that baby is born. I wondered how this might impact those who were/are users during their own pregnancy and nursing experiences. Thanks to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) and their “Good to Know Colorado” campaign, my girlfriends and I learned a lot about how marijuana affects pregnant and breastfeeding women. Here are some of the questions we had – and information the CDPHE provided.
Q: Once you’re breastfeeding, couldn’t you just “pump and dump” the way some do when you consume alcohol?
A: If you use marijuana while breastfeeding, it gets passed to your baby. THC is stored in fat cells. That means THC stays in your breast milk much longer than alcohol does, so “pumping and dumping” doesn’t work. THC gets into your breast milk and may affect your baby. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions.
Q: Isn’t marijuana natural? I mean, it’s at least more natural than some medications women take while pregnant or nursing, right?
A: Not all natural substances or plants are safe. Lead, tobacco, and poisonous berries are great examples. Marijuana contains THC, which may harm a baby. Also, all medications (marijuana or prescription) have side effects that can be dangerous. Studies have shown that exposure to THC in the womb may affect a baby’s brain development, making it hard for him/her to pay attention and learn as he/she grows older.
Q: Don’t cannabinoids naturally occur in the body?
A: Some cannabinoids, called endocannabinoids, occur naturally in the body and in breast milk. These endocannabinoids help your nerve cells communicate better. However, THC from marijuana is much stronger than your natural endocannabinoids. THC can upset the natural endocannabinoid system in your body. Pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should not use marijuana to avoid any risks of THC.
Q: What if you’re around people who are smoking marijuana? Is it as dangerous as second-hand tobacco smoke?
A: Secondhand smoke from marijuana has many of the same cancer-causing chemicals as smoke from tobacco. A smoke-free environment is safest and healthiest. Don’t allow smoking in your home or around your baby.
Q: What about edibles? That must be safer than smoking, right?
A: Whether it’s smoked, vaped, or eaten, there is no known safe amount of marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding.
Q: What if a woman used before she knew she was pregnant?
A: There is no known safe amount of marijuana use while pregnant or breastfeeding. If a woman wants to stop using marijuana while pregnant, she should talk to a doctor to be connected to treatments that are confidential and nonjudgmental. Learn more at Mother’s Connection or by calling 1-800-CHILDREN.
I think the biggest thing we learned, thanks to the “Good to Know Colorado” campaign, is that marijuana in any form is just not safe while pregnant or nursing. We may not like giving up our deli sub sandwiches while pregnant, our super decongestants when that awful cold comes on while we’re nursing, or those last M&Ms (as your 5-year-old bats those eyelashes at you for) after a long day – we do it for our kids. If you are curious to learn more, check out the “Good to Know Colorado” campaign or talk more with your healthcare provider.
** This sponsored post was written to serve as guidance and provide suggestions of important education related to marijuana use. As with any medical questions or concerns, it is imperative to talk to your health care provider. It is the opinion of Denver Metro Moms Blog to provide our followers with credible information and help educate on reliable and expert resources in our community.