Maternity Wards Are Testing New Moms & Babies for Marijuana Use

Say What!? 98

Make sure you don't toke up if you're about to go into labor. At least if you're planning on going to a public hospital in New York City. Because if you test positive for marijuana after the delivery, you're likely to have a child protective services investigation before you even get the baby home. More than a dozen city maternity wards routinely test new moms for marijuana usage and turn the results over to city agencies.

These moms are almost exclusively low-income and minority women. If you're an upper class white woman in the suburbs who pops a Xanax before your delivery (not that you should, but if you do), then you're in the clear.

Family court attorneys apparently see lots of "neglect" cases against new moms, centering solely around a positive test for marijuana use after their delivery. One hospital in the Bronx requires moms to get tested -- if they refuse, then the babies are tested.

One woman at this hospital tested positive -- she admitted she smoked pot two weeks before at a party -- and the hospital reportedly held her and her baby for two days, only letting her go once subsequent tests came back negative. She was still put on "mommy probation" -- which included parenting classes -- for a year.

A spokesperson for the hospital told the Daily News: "This is a high-risk population in this hospital. The intent is to help them deliver healthy babies." Err, okay. But by the time a mother has given birth, your test doesn't help with that at all. If this was truly the intent, why not test all women as soon as they get pregnant. (Talk about intrusive government!)

I'm not against women being given counseling and parenting classes after births. In fact, it should be an option for every woman, not just low-income minority women who test positive for marijuana use.

On the other hand, I understand the desire to protect newborns. But I can't get around the fact that this testing is only focusing on marijuana and only low-income city women. I mean, what about testing for heroin use? Meth? Or, for that matter, what about cigarettes and alcohol? What about women who are on various pharmaceuticals such as Adderall, Xanax, Vicodin, etc.?

And should we really even go on a witch hunt for that? Many women are prescribed drugs -- yes, even while they're pregnant -- and it would be difficult to figure out if they were abusing them and not merely taking what was prescribed. I had a friend who was strongly urged to continue her anti-depressants during her pregnancy. Luckily, she wasn't tested for anything after birth.

And what about the dads?? If marijuana use is damaging to babies, what good does it do for a mom to test clean but then the baby goes home to a dad who smokes up?

What do you think of this testing?


Image via Peretzp/Flickr

baby health, childbirth, childcare


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kisse... kisses5050

" (Talk about intrusive government!)"   what do you think happens when you embrace socialiized medicine and become a socialistic country? You are not entitiled to live your life anyway you want and expect someone else to pick up the bill with no say... that was the one poece of the puzzle that soooooo many voters seemed to have missed in this "hell yes everyone has a right to freeeee stuff" It is kind of like when you were eight and your parents said "as long as you live under opur roof..." This is only the begining.

monke... monkeysmama22

Are we honestly still that archaic in our thinking in this country that we are still considering pot a drug? Insane. This completely unjustified prohibition on marajuana is really getting disgusting. The same people who bash lighting up, have no problem with downing a 6 pack every night or 3 glasses of wine, just because it is 'legal'. How many people have you heard of OD-ing on pot? Or dying in way because of it? That's right you haven't, because it doesn't happen!! Why don't you backass people actually do a little RESEARCH on it before you open your mouths. There are numerous articles done by DOCTORS (that's right, people who are much more intelligent than you) that have shown absolutely no negative effects in babies that have been born to marajuana smoking mothers. Why don't all of you cigarette smoking, prescription pill popping mommies out there go read a book.

nonmember avatar Anon

For months, every time I came on this site, all I would read is how a certain segment of the population is hateful and only cares about the rights of a fetus instead of the mother. There was outcry for support services and help for low income mothers who chose to have their babies, and another segment of the population was praised for being compassionate towards low income individuals and single mothers.

What you're reading today is the reality of what your tax dollars and social services are. More government equals less freedom. Period.

JCKit... JCKitten87

Wow, pot really? I can see for almost any other drug. I stopped smoking weed the moment I found out I was pregnant, but cigarettes r MUCH worse than weed... Almost everything is worse than weed, including soda...

kever... keversole

This is so freaking ridiculous. When i was pregnant i was very up front and honest with my doctor. I told him that i smoke marijuanna but that i didn't intend to while i was pregnant. I was told by not only him, but 2 other doctors at 2 seperate places that there's no real harm in it AT ALL but that if they're are suspicious at the hospital when i have the baby, they might test us and CPS would get involved. I did quit and was never tested, but 1 day after my c-section a nurse came in and ask me about my "drug abuse problem". i got so mad i almost screamed at her. if you really want to protect these babies, test for the drugs that ACTUALLY do harm to them and stop harassing these poor women.

Blues... Blueshark77

I understand testing for hard drugs, but not just weed. I'm in CA and during my first trimester when they ran my blood work they looked for any drug. A few months ago a story broke about newborns testing positive for marijuana, but it was a false positive. It was baby products (soap and shampoo) that were giving the false positives. That IS scary, the possiblity of losing your child because of toiletry items. Are they testing for alcohol and tobacco which we know are harmful to a developing fetus?

nonmember avatar Cheryl

Marijuana DOES NOT cross the placenta... leave the pot smokers alone (most of whom don't abuse it nearly as bad as, say, the ones who drink a sixer, and smoke a pack a day, which are both worse than marijuana) We really need to lay off the anti-marijuana smear campaign, and focus on more harmful drugs like heroin, or meth...

nonmember avatar Esoteric K.

What do I think of this testing? Drug testing is a violation of the 4th Amendment of the United States Constitution, as it has the same effect of the police searching your home. The commenters who think this is fine are wrong and have no argument to stand on, other than their bigotry against a hated and feared minority class, which is fashionably now: marijuana users. It is irrational hysterics to think that an infrequent and responsible adult use of certain chemicals during life should result in joblessness, homelessness, or taking your children away. The true individuals who should be examined are the people and organizations caring out such needless sadistic destruction of other people's lives. The true threat is ignorant people who, if time is not spent pointing fingers at the innocent, attention will be placed on them, the truly guilty parties.

Heath... Heather2001

That's just stupid.  Of all of the "harmful" things to test for.  Heck, Ibuprofen is more dangerous to take while pregnant than marijuana.  *Headdesk*

nonmember avatar whitebreads

In MA you are screened in the hospital during labor for a litany of drugs. They never tell you they are doing it either which I think is great.

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