While many tout the benefits of pot, the ACOG recommends that pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant should avoid using marijuana.
With the ever-growing list of U.S. states with legalized marijuana — whether medicinally or recreational — increasing attention has been given to the safety of marijuana use by pregnant women.
However, as of yet, no research has found consistent, demonstrated risks of pot use during pregnancy.
In fact, many women have found a benefit to using pot while pregnant — to relieve a dangerous form of severe morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum — that could otherwise put their pregnancy at risk.
Still, the recommendation from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) remains that pregnant women and women who are planning to become pregnant should avoid using marijuana.
A new American study, published online Dec. 19 in the Journal of the American Medical Association, shows that marijuana use has been trending up in all women of reproductive age, pregnant or not, since 2002, and this news seems to have strengthened the ACOG’s resolve — calling for health care providers to screen all pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant for marijuana use and to discourage its use.
The trend among women is not a huge jump, but it’s noticeable — from 2.4% of women ages 18-44 in 2002, to 3.9% as of 2014.
Pot use is highest in young adult women, ages 18-25, at 7.5%.
Past-month pot use was seen to have increased among both non-pregnant women of reproductive age and pregnant women. For pregnant women, 2.4% used pot in 2002 and 4% used by 2014.
This latest study referred to previous research showing a possible link between marijuana use during pregnancy and low birth weight and impaired neurodevelopment in infants. However, these correlations have been dispelled by other scientific reviews that showed these studies were flawed in that they did not control for tobacco and alcohol use.
Unfortunately, it appears that pregnant women who use marijuana for medicinal purposes have been getting caught in the cross hairs of this ongoing debate of marijuana safety during pregnancy. While ACOG seems to be avoiding the topic, many women have definitely seen value in marijuana in controlling their symptoms of hyperemesis gravidarum that — if left untreated — could otherwise prove harmful to the pregnancy.
Hyperemesis gravidarum has significant identified risks to the unborn baby. Marijuana use does not. When it comes to risk versus benefit, it seems a no-brainer that — in this circumstance at least — some doctors have considered that the demonstrated, anecdotal benefit of pot use to control severe morning sickness far outweighs its still-debated, nebulous concerns in an otherwise low-risk pregnant mother.