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Effects of cannabis when pregnant and breastfeeding

There is no known safe amount of cannabis use in pregnancy and when breastfeeding.

Here is what we know about cannabis:

Effects on Pregnancy:

Studies have shown that cannabis use may have some negative effects on pregnancy. For heavy cannabis users, and those who also use tobacco, cannabis may increase the risk of having your baby premature.

Cannabis is often used with other drugs, such as alcohol. Alcohol and tobacco have very negative effects on pregnancy, and on the health of the fetus.

Some women  report benefits from using cannabis to treat morning sickness during pregnancy. However, due to potential harms to the pregnancy, fetus and the mother, safer treatments should be discussed with your health care provider.

Effects on the Fetus:

Cannabis smoke contains many of the same harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke.

Smoking cannabis can reduce the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus. Some studies show effects on the newborn such as lower birth weight, lower alertness and slower growthof the new baby. Cannabis has not been linked to birth defects. However, the effects on the developing brain may be lasting, as the baby grows to an adolescent and adult.

If you’re pregnant you need to take care of your health by eating well, taking prenatal vitamins, being physically active and getting rest.

Seek advice from your prenatal care provider about the risks of your cannabis use before and during your pregnancy. Remember to start prenatal care early.

Effects on Breastfeeding:

When a breastfeeding mother uses cannabis, THC passes into the breast milk and is taken into a baby’s fat cells and brain. It can be stored for weeks. Some research found that infants exposed to THC through breast milk had slower motor development (affects baby’s movements and responses). More studies are required to determine the true effect of cannabis exposure when breastfeeding.

Breastfeeding is still the healthiest choice for your baby.

Until further information about the potential harms is available, it is recommended that women stop using cannabis while they are pregnant, or while breastfeeding. Caution is advised.