Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that its doctors counsel women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to not use marijuana. In theory, marijuana could affect the neurodevelopment in fetuses. Not enough research has been done in marijuana use in pregnancy and breastfeeding, the recommendation points out.
The fear is that with legalization comes the idea that marijuana is safe to use and could even help women control nausea from morning sickness.
- The Academy made these recommendations to its members:
- Inform adolescents and women of reproductive age about the lack of definitive research. Counsel about concerns regarding potential adverse effects of THC exposure, including passive smoke, on pregnant women and fetal, infant and child development. Include marijuana when discussing the need to abstain from tobacco, alcohol and other drugs during pregnancy.
- Counsel pregnant women who are using marijuana or other cannabinoid-containing products to treat a medical condition, nausea and vomiting during pregnancy — or who are identified during screening as using marijuana — about the lack of safety data and the possible adverse effects of THC on the developing fetus.
- Explain that even where marijuana is legal, pregnant women can be subject to child welfare investigations if they have a positive marijuana screen result.
- Note that data are insufficient to assess the effects on infants who are exposed to maternal marijuana while breastfeeding. Inform women of the potential risk of exposure during lactation and encourage them to abstain from using any marijuana products while breastfeeding.
- Encourage women who never have used marijuana to remain abstinent while pregnant and breastfeeding.
- Work with state/local health departments if legalization of marijuana has occurred or is being considered to help with constructive, nonpunitive policy and education for families.