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scared to death / testing after birth

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Hello everyone,


I have read a few posts on this site and everyone seems so welcoming and understanding to the questions asked and do not judge others. I have been crying all day and I am scared to death of what will occur after my baby is born ... 

I went to my ob/gyn today for a check up and I am 16 weeks along.  I live in North Carolina and I am also on Medicaid.  Having to receive assistance was very hard for me to handle at first, but I don't know what I would do without it. 

Well, at my checkup today my dr. informed me that at my last appointment (12 weeks) that I tested positive for marijuana. I had no idea they even tested my urine.  Well the only times I smoked were at 4 weeks, before I was aware of my pregnancy, and again at 12-14 weeks due to trouble sleeping and stress, a decision that I now regret and feel like an idiot for.  I quit after the last time I smoked which was around 14 weeks and I do not know if i tested positive today or not.  My dr. just said today that I had to quit smoking pot or DSS would get involved, and I informed her that I had quit.  I am now scared to death, after reading information all evening, that the thc will be detectable in my newborn's meconium or placenta at birth because I smoked around the time meconium would start being formed.. Will it be detectable?  I am scared that CPS will have to be involved or that they will take the baby from me. Will they? 

I am 25 , have a bachelor's degree, have 1 year completed of master's coursework from a Christian University, and I am about to begin on additional schooling and certification in order to get a job more immediately to cover loan expenses and the upcoming expenses from my little one.  I am absolutely torn up over all this and have no idea what to think or what information is actually reliable. I am so scared. I am scared what my family will think and the town I live in.  I am also scared that the father will take the baby since he has already been causing me so much stress recently but has been completely uninvolved. Someone please help. Thank you! 

post #2 of 17
I don't have the answers you're looking for, I just recommend taking a deep breath and taking it one step at a time. You've got to take good care of you right now. Take charge of your healthcare by asking your doctor for the results of today's test, you are entitled to that information. At this point remember that you have done exactly what your doctor told you to do - they didn't inform you until today that you had to quit, and you already have, so you are following instructions.

Also, do you like your doctor? I wouldn't be keen on someone who made those comments without having a more thorough discussion with me about the consequences. It is really unfortunate that they scared you like that and left you with so many questions. If it were me, I might want to consider looking for a midwife or other doctor who would handle these conversations with a little more sensitivity. Lots of people require assistance from time to time, it is nothing to be ashamed of, and you still deserve quality, respectful care no matter how it is being paid for.
post #3 of 17
I can't believe they drug tested you without your consent. How is that even legal? It's class discrimination and it's wrong. I am SO sorry you're having to deal with this. Are you sure your doc is telling you the truth? I would ask to see the results of the test.

I'm with the PP about just doing what your doctor said to do and going from there. Trust me, A LOT of people smoke pot while pregnant. I'm not saying it's good; it is not something I would do. But, I can't see them taking your kid away for two measly times. So many women drink in the early stages because they don't know they're pregnant. Are their babies being taken away? The system is ridiculous. No one can tell me that the Oxycodone I took after my c-section was better than pot for my nursing baby. Sheesh!!

I don't see how the father would find out about this unless someone broke the law by giving him your medical information. Am I wrong about this?

Sorry I am not more help. I don't have any personal experience with this. I hope someone can come along and give you more insight. Big BIG hugs to you!! <3
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you both so much for replying and trying to help me. I have done research and contacted anonymous hotlines all day for help and have about stressed and cried myself to death. I truly appreciate the love and support you both have given me. I know all I can do now is move forward and remain healthy. I have thought about changing doctors, just worried it will make me look suspicious. I will try my hardest to remain positive and unworried but this is all I will think about until I have the baby. Thank you and love to you both
post #5 of 17

I used to work in an area that had very very conservative values.  Any sort of even minor use of marijuana was seriously frowned upon by what seemed like the entire community.  There were many times that babies were born and the doctor or midwife would be aware that the mom had tested positive for marijuana at some point but never for any other drugs.  They would usually advise the nurses to keep an eye out for anything unusual with the baby (high-pitched screaming, extreme irritability, etc.) that could indicate withdrawals.  Other than that, no one really batted an eye.  And this was certainly not in a community that was accepting of marijuana use. The only time DCFS or others got involved was if there was positive testing for marijuana plus other drugs plus a baby showing signs of withdrawal.


Honestly, don't worry.  If you've stopped using marijuana now and you're committed to staying away from it while you're pregnant--everything will be just fine.

post #6 of 17
I am disgusted at what your doctor threatened you with. Also the fact that he drug tested you without your knowledge or consent! So very illegal!

DCFS has so many truly dangerous situations on its plate (in most places) and such limited resources... If they hassled every mom who peed pos for THC, well, that's all they'd do.

Of course now your lovely OB will be testing you at each visit and if you refuse they will put a bag on your baby so they can test his/her urine. Mj from 14 weeks is not going to show in baby's urine so don't sweat it.
post #7 of 17

I'm so, so, so sorry you're going through this. I don't think you did anything wrong, and I agree with the others that it was inappropriate for your doctor to make you feel threatened in that way.


I was a pot smoker before I got pregnant with my daughter (still am, just not while pregnant) and was worried about this issue. I researched it and from what I remember, it only shows up in meconium if you smoke after 4-5 months.


Here's a seemingly valid source--some kind of lab site with testing guidelines:


"Meconium begins to form between the 12th and 16th week of gestation. Meconium drug testing can detect maternal drug use during the last 4 to 5 months of pregnancy. A negative result does not exclude the possibility that a mother used drugs during pregnancy. Detection of drug use depends on the quantity and quality of the specimen tested as well as the pattern and frequency of drug(s) used by mother. The concentration value must be greater than or equal to the cutoff to be reported as positive. Interpretive questions should be directed to the laboratory."



If you haven't smoked since 14 weeks, my guess would be you are just fine. Hugs.

post #8 of 17

First, just a few words to help try to put your mind at ease – like the other posters, I don’t believe if you have stopped drug use now that it has been pointed out to you, that there will be any further reason for DSS or CPS to be involved in this issue or take the baby away from you. I think likely the reason why the doctor was so severe in the first place was to shock and scare you into quitting, if you had not already. I’m very sorry you had to go through that at such a vulnerable time.


Secondly, in response to those who have mentioned that it must have been illegal for them to test for drugs without your consent – most certainly it is illegal without your consent. Unfortunately, the term “informed consent” is tossed around so loosely in the medical community, and the result is that there is a whole lot of consenting going on with very little informing. I’d be almost certain that consent was given, either on one of the forms applying for Medicaid benefits (which may have additional pages of explanation that this was included on), or even at the visit itself (again, perhaps on an entirely separate document that listed everything that was being authorized on the “short form”). Unfortunately, this is a really harsh way to learn about those “consent” games that are played on mothers, but, now that you are aware of them, you can be better informed and find out everything that you have given your consent to.


I live in Texas, and know that I did receive drug testing among the other myriad of testing that was done at my first prenatal blood draws with both of my pregnancies (my first at a free-standing birth center, paid out of pocket with a certified professional midwife, currently in my second and am on state benefits with certified nurse midwives who work out of a local hospital). I don’t recall seeing the authorization for this testing with my second pregnancy (yet I know that somewhere in the mounds of paperwork they expected me to return in the span of the office visit, it was there), and the only reason I’m aware that it was/would be done was based on my first pregnancy, where I was given a full informational packet at my consultation (before my first actual pre-natal visit), which specifically listed in detail each and every test that was offered, which were “required” by the state (these can still be declined, BTW, but may lead to loss of benefits or a lot of issues/argument), which were routinely performed by the birth center during pregnancy, and which could specifically be added to our testing should we want to have them done. I then had to initial to consent or decline each of the tests that were required/routinely performed, and additionally to request any additional testing had I wanted anything else that was offered but not routine. Unfortunately, in most instances, the “consent” is not in this detail and is not given to mothers to take home and review for a few weeks.

post #9 of 17

I would switch OBs. Besides that, I wouldn't worry about anything regarding the baby at birth.  

post #10 of 17

I agree with switching OBs or looking for a midwife. What your OB did was unethical, and then trying to scare you was bad also. Also, calm down and relax mama! I'm sorry you're going through this.

post #11 of 17

This happened to a friend of mine, only while she was in labor she told the midwife that she had smoked pot once during her pregnancy.  I guess they are mandated reporters, so she had to have cps come and check on her after the baby came home.  She said it was stressful but that the case worker came to her house and closed the case immediately.  She is not a wealthy suburban mom, either.  


I do not think they will test your baby placenta or meconium and wouldn't worry about it.  I wouldn't be so sure that your OB was threatening you either.  Doctors are usually mandated reporters so what she is doing is letting you know what could happen if you or your baby tested positive for marijuana at birth - probably in a urine test.  No one cares if you were smoking 9 months ago at that point.  I smoked pot once when I was pregnant with my oldest (for nausea around 10 weeks) and I had no prenatal care before I gave birth.  I guarantee you that I was tested for everything under the sun and I had no problems.  You are going to have so much time for it work out of your system.


It sounds like you are under a lot of stress, especially regarding the baby's father.  Do you have the support of a counselor or someone you trust who can help you navigate all of these issues?  Also, I'm glad you know there is nothing wrong with being on Medicaid.  Someday you will be in a better spot and you will be paying into the system to help someone else.  

post #12 of 17

You should contact these people: https://www.facebook.com/#!/NationalAdvocatesforPregnantWomen

They can give you really specific advice and help.

post #13 of 17

You should contact these people: https://www.facebook.com/#!/NationalAdvocatesforPregnantWomen

They can give you really specific advice and help.

post #14 of 17

I'm sorry you're going through this.  I wouldn't worry about it (if possible), to be honest, since a very small amount of marijuana will probably not show up after birth.  As far as your OB goes, it's really important to have a connection with the person who is providing prenatal care and delivering your baby.  It can make all the difference in how the labor and birth go (women who are stressed during labor have a higher chance of c-section).  I would strongly consider switching doctors.  It would not be considered suspicious, though you may have to explain the pot use to a subsequent practitioner. 


As for the testing, chances are good you did consent to be tested, without knowing it (the PP above is right on about the difference between consent and informed consent).  Within the reams of paperwork I filled out at my first prenatal appointment was a standard form saying that my urine could be tested for drugs at any time during the process.  If I hadn't been reading carefully, I would have missed it altogether.  I hope you can find peace with what is probably a very minor issue.  And absolutely shame on your doctor for trying to scare you.  Unprofessional and cruel. 

post #15 of 17

I agree with switching practitioners. As long as you are calm about it there's no reason it should look "suspicious," and you have good reason to do so because your current practitioner is handling your pregnancy in a way that causes you anxiety. Many moms switch in a situation like that!!


I worked in a hospital previously and my recollection (though vague) is that they were basing decisions to intervene and take custody on more recent marijuana tests. If they tested the baby I don't think it was the meconium or placenta that they tested. Every hospital's policy is different, so you would want to find out your hospital's policy. It would also be reasonable to switch hospitals if you feel uncomfortable with their policies.

post #16 of 17

I don' thave much to add except that I am really angry for you. It is so ridiculous how anyone would even worry about THC coming up positive. Women smoke cigarettes throughout their pregnancies and no one is trying to take their kids away. I feel like cigarettes and alcohol are much worse than pot! Laws are changing around the country regarding marijuana so it is only a matter of time until people are going to back off. But in the meantime...there ae going to be people holding onto the scare tactics. I would get another provider as well. I wouldn't want to deal with that kind of attitude.



post #17 of 17
I wouldn't worry at all. By the time your baby is born it should clear out of your system. Honestly, depending on your area, CPS probably had bigger fish to fry.
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