I looked down and there it was — a blue positive sign. Our family of three was officially expanding and even though it was my second pregnancy my mind instantly started racing. There were so many things to consider as we had just moved to Denver — finding a new OB/GYN, researching hospitals, finding the nearest 24 hour pharmacy, and so on and so on. As the days progressed I continued to cover the full spectrum of joy, wonder, and worry on every topic from birth to college savings. And then it hit me. We now live in Colorado where retail marijuana is legal. I wondered what women that use marijuana do when they find themselves in this same early pregnancy shift where life’s focus goes from “me” to “we.”
Weighing Your Options
I think we can all pretty much agree that once there is a little one on board that our focus goes straight to keeping them safe, which can mean a million different things to each one of us. It’s an ever-evolving conversation and one that is just fascinating when you really stop and think about it. As my curiosity grew on this thought of “me” to “we,” I took to my good friend the internet and found myself reading about marijuana and pregnancy. There was one site that stood out to me — Good to Know Colorado. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) has actually created an entire site dedicated to educating people about retail marijuana, and there is a page for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Their main message is simple — talk to your health care provider. It all comes back to that conversation piece. Having open conversations with your health care provider is crucial, whether you’re covering retail marijuana, caffeine, sushi or alcohol. Talk to them and be open to their feedback!
Looking A Little Deeper
There were a few notes from the website that stood out to me that I thought were worth sharing with all of you. The one that hit home the hardest was that some hospitals test babies after birth for drugs. If your baby tests positive for THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol, the chemical in marijuana that makes you feel high) at birth, Colorado law says the hospital must notify child protective services. There’s a simple way to avoid this — talk to your health care provider early in your pregnancy to get the necessary support to be healthy, including ways to end marijuana use. Your health care provider can help you find treatment options that are confidential and nonjudgmental.
Here are a few other points I thought were worth sharing:
- When marijuana is smoked, vaped or eaten during pregnancy, THC is passed to the baby.
- Exposure to THC in the womb may affect a baby’s brain development, which may have a long-term impact on a child’s ability to learn. This means that marijuana use during pregnancy doesn’t just affect a child as a baby; it can affect them later in life too.
- Just because marijuana is “natural” doesn’t mean it’s safe to use during pregnancy. Not all natural substances or plants are safe. Think about lead, tobacco and poisonous berries. They all can harm a pregnant woman and her baby. Because marijuana contains THC, it may harm a baby too.
I’m not here to pass judgment — just share a few of the highlights I discovered on GoodToKnowColorado.com/Baby. Pregnancy and motherhood is a journey that looks different to each and every one of us. Embrace your particular journey and have an open and honest conversation with your health care provider about retail marijuana.