So much about this thread has made me want to laugh, cry, and pull my hair out.
For the questions about using pot with bipolar disorder at all; didn't the OP already say that it helped her? So why be concerned about it making things worse? It's true that some people with bipolar disorder suffer seriously adverse effects from using pot, but it's just as true that others derive great benefits from marijuana. The same can be said of every single medication used to treat bipolar disorder today.
The "I would never do it" crowd, or the "I'd rather suffer than ingest anything like that during pregnancy;" I'm glad that you haven't had to endure any serious pain or a debilitating condition during any of your pregnancies. I think that you should count your blessings and move on. A splitting headache doesn't compare to the havoc that something like bipolar disorder can cause in your life. I speak here as someone who not only suffers from bipolar disorder but from some unbelievably painful headaches (I count myself lucky that I have only had a few migraines in this pregnancy, for example, and that I haven't had any cluster headaches in more than 10 years). Given the choice between, say, daily migraines and a manic episode during pregnancy, I'd take the migraines every single time, in a heartbeat. I'm glad that you've never even felt the need to take a tylenol during your pregnancies, but not all of us are that lucky. There are levels of pain which are literally debilitating, which make some of us unable to function and we don't all have the luxury of just going to bed to deal with them. We have to do what we have to do to get through the day. Sometimes it's not pretty.
Bipolar disorder is a real disease, and it's a scary one. Some women are lucky; their symptoms go into remission during pregnancy. Most are not so lucky, the hormones throw everything farther out of balance than it was before. Untreated active bipolar disorder is very, very dangerous, and in my (very informed) mind, it presents a great risk to any children, in utero or out. Studies have shown, for example, that extreme stress during pregnancy is definately dangerous and a risk factor for all kinds of problems in newborns/infants/toddlers/children (including things you'd think to be totally unrelated, like juvenile diabetes). Bipolar disorder brings new meaning to the words "extreme stress."
How stoners treat their kids-- there are many, many different kinds of people who use marijuana out there. Anyone who's seen Half Baked could tell you that.
Seriously, though. Some stoners are the "stuck in the 60's/70's, free love hippy" type. Some are the "30 years old and sleeping in mom's basement type." There are people who use pot to get high every day, every weekend, once a month or less often. There are people who use pot every now and then for specific reasons (i.e. to deal with pain or nausea) and people who use it regularly for medically indicated reasons (cancer, AIDS). My guess is that the overwhelming majority of people who use marijuana do so ocasionally (no more often than twice a month) for social reasons. As a friend of mine once said, "I've got this social problem that pot fixes."
I think that a lot of people feel that way. Perhaps people who smoke more frequently are doing it to escape some stress in their lives, but I think that adults who watch a lot of television are doing the same thing and, quite frankly, I think that the pot is probably healthier.
And this quote:
|To the OP, I would simply ask- what did people do before bi-polar was considered a disease? Before there were drugs available?
Before bipolar disorder was considered a disease, and before there were drugs available, people sufferring from severe manic or depressive episodes had different options available to them. If they were wealthy, they were put into expensive sanitaria where people spent a lot of time and energy trying to keep them from hurting themselves or anyone else. If they were not wealthy, they were put into crappy, warehouse-style hospitals until they could be experimented on, treated with shock therapy, or lobotomized (sometimes all three). Do you think that shock therapy would be a safer thing for a pregnant woman to consent to than a little bit of pot? Really? Or should she be looking for someone to perform a lobotomy? I know, a lot of people think that this was only done to schizophrenics, but the fact is that it was often done to people with bipolar disorder (and not just those with psychotic features). In fact, because bipolar disorder is more common than schizophrenia, I'd be willing to bet money that most lobectomies were performed on bipolar patients.
All that said: I haven't smoked pot since I found out that I was pregnant with my son. Before that, I smoked occasionally/rarely (I probably averaged 5 times a year). I am bipolar, and recently I have been experiencing symptoms of mania (hello, it's nearly 2 am and I'm wide awake and posting here). I've also suffered from hyperemesis (in my first pregnancy) and severe, debilitating pain (in this pregnancy). If I had access to organically grown marijuana, I'd feel very comfortable taking a few hits right now. Because I don't, I'm trying to control my pain and my mania with other chemicals that are (for me) either a) much scarier or b) less effective. What choices do I have? Well, I could suffer with the agonizing pain of sciatica (no, it's not something else, it's actual sciatica and it sucks royally), and spend all of my time in bed, unable to roll over or get up to use the bathroom without help and more agony, and yelling at my kids instead of, say, feeding them and playing with them and doing other normal, necessary parental things. Or, I could take a vicodin and, once it kicks in, accomplish the things that I need to accomplish to take care of my children and maybe get a few things done around the house, while I'm at it. I suppose that most of you see this as a choice, and some of you as a choice that you would never make, but for me there's no question: I will do what I have to do to take care of my children. I think that the dangers of not taking the pill are greater for all three of my children than they are to one of my children (the BellyBean) if I *do* take it.
I'm not going to tell anyone that they shouldn't smoke pot during their pregnancy, nor that they should be taking any of the many, many other drugs which are currently used to treat bipolar disorder. I know all too well how scary it can be, and I think it's probably safer to continue to use a little bit of pot that you already know works and that is still working than it would be to attempt to start a whole new drug regimen with drugs of unknown (or known) efficacy and saftey in any particular individual.