I am constantly amazed that this topic seems to come up over and over again on pregnancy forums. It boggles my mind: Women asking if it’s okay to smoke up while they are pregnant. You know, marijuana being natural and all, it doesn’t have those harmful chemicals that cigarettes do. I’ve even seen women argue that marijuana is better than cigarettes during pregnancy (again, citing the “all natural” reason).
Guess what else is all natural? Mescaline. Jimson weed. COCAINE. Oh wait! Don’t forget the heroin!
It is usually at this point that my head meets the desk. Since when does natural equal safe?
People on both sides are nearly rabid about this issue. Pro-smokers say they smoke throughout their pregnancies and now have the smartest kid in the class. Toxicologists weigh in, experts speak out, refuting the claims that pot is harmful. They believe that since there are no concrete studies that pot is as harmful as standard cigarettes, it’s okay.
I’m not convinced.
In most cases, I have no problem with pot, other than the smell of it making me want to puke -- smoke it all you want. I have a relative who uses it medicinally, and it’s been something of a miracle for her when she needs it.
But those are individuals. Not people creating other little people. Not people sharing a blood supply (and therefore chemicals) with another little person. A developing person. Isn’t it just a little selfish to continue smoking when it has the potential to harm your child?
If nothing else, pot-smoking preggos have to understand that if they are smoking anywhere near their birth date, so are their babies. Which means the babies are born with THC in their systems. There is no guarantee a newborn will have the same withdrawal experience as an adult. Some babies known to be exposed to pot have shown symptoms of withdrawal at birth, such as excessive crying, tremors and trouble sleeping.
There are two other factors to consider. First, smoking anything while pregnant deprives the baby of oxygen. Lack of oxygen has known, proven negative effects on fetal development, and those effects last after the baby is born. Second, it might be one thing to smoke if you were growing your own, completely organic pot and you knew exactly what was in it. But dealers cut drugs – yes, all drugs, not just heroin and coke. And yes, all dealers – if it’s not the guy you buy from, it’s the guy he bought from. Whether it’s cut with something or has been treated with something, smokers have no way of knowing. Any chemical makes its way into your bloodstream, and that of your baby.
I like the way Dr. Andrew Weil puts it: Sure, there’s no hard evidence that smoking pot while pregnant will hurt you or the baby. But there isn’t any evidence against that either.
And I’d just rather not take the chance.
Where do you fall on this issue?
Image via miss.libertine/Flickr