SPOKANE, Wash --- A new study from Spokane called ‘Weed to Know’ brings to light the harmful effects that taking marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding can cause.
The study is called “Weed to Know for Baby and You”. There is now enough information to make moms and families think twice before using pot during and after pregnancy the study reports.
Many moms can turn to marijuana because it can relieve nausea and anxiety, and since it is legal in many states more families are inclined to believe it is safe to use. This campaign is meant to educate families and caregivers about harms associated with marijuana use while pregnant, breastfeeding or caring for children.
The study said marijuana use during pregnancy could cause a baby to be born before his or her body and brain are ready, change how a baby’s brain develops, lower a child’s IQ, cause problems with learning and memory, and make it harder for them to do well in school.
It also talks about the effects of marijuana use during breastfeeding. Some of the risks include feeding problems because tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, can lower milk supply and it can also make a baby less willing to eat which could slow weight gain and growth. There is also an increased risk for sudden infant death syndrome from using marijuana while breastfeeding.
Using marijuana can also affect a person’s ability to safely care for a baby or other children. This is because marijuana use can decrease a person’s ability to concentrate, impair judgement and slow response time.
“We hear all the time from mothers who feel they used marijuana ‘successfully’ in previous pregnancies, or know someone who did, but it is also likely the child is not old enough yet to exhibit the long-term health consequences,” said Melissa Charbonneau, a public health nurse in the health district’s Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs program. “To be on the safe side, your best bet is to avoid marijuana altogether while you're expecting.”
This study was done with collaboration from Spokane Regional Health District, Spokane County’s Birth Outcomes Task Force, CHAS Health, Greater Spokane Substance Abuse Council, Providence Health Care, Rockwood Health Systems, Spokane County Medical Society, Washington State Department of Social and Health Services’ Children’s Administration, and Washington State University School of Nursing.