As marijuana becomes legal and more accessible in a growing number of states, you may be wondering about the effects of pot on pregnancy and fetal development. Unfortunately, because scientists don’t want to expose human mothers and babies to risk of potential harm (and who can blame them?) and pregnant moms who do use marijuana tend to either underreport their habit or are likely to make other pregnancy-unfriendly choices (like smoking cigarettes and drinking), there’s not a lot of conclusive research.
The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) strongly advises against using pot while pregnant (and tells practitioners to convey that message to their patients), as does the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), because there are some known risks to the baby and there’s still a lot that isn’t fully understood. Here are seven things we do know about pot use during pregnancy.
Marijuana crosses the placenta and enters your baby’s bloodstream
Marijuana’s primary mind-altering ingredient is called tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, and it changes a whole array of processes in the adult body, including heart rate and brain function. Because pot and THC are known to cross the placenta and enter the fetus’ bloodstream, you’re essentially sharing the drug with your baby. Medical researchers have good reason to believe that pot can affect a growing baby’s heart, brain and other systems.