There has been great deal of debate over the benefits versus the risks of using weed while pregnant.
Despite the mostly unknown health concerns and negative warnings frequently disseminated by the media and medical community, thousands of pregnant women are smoking marijuana to save their own and their unborn babies’ lives.
Women who suffer from hyperemesis gravidarum (HG), a rare, but severe, morning sickness that causes weight loss and dehydration, typically from excessive vomiting, are now using weed to stem the horrible symptoms.
“Usually about 10 – 15 times a day was the average. It’s like having a terrible hangover all the time without having drunk any alcohol,” said one woman who did not wish to be identified, according to Circa.
About two percent of pregnant women are diagnosed with HG every year. The severe nausea, vomiting and weight loss can be extremely detrimental to mom and baby and can even result in death.
According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), this severe nausea is caused by a rise in hormone levels. However, the absolute cause is still unknown. Symptoms, which the APA makes a point of not confusing with normal morning sickness, may require care for the entire pregnancy in up to 20 percent of women.
There is no known prevention of Hyperemesis gravidarum.
As 28 states and Washington, D.C. now have medical marijuana, there is a growing movement of women who suffer from HG who see marijuana as a far better alternative to taking prescription drugs while pregnant, which certainly makes sense.
The problem is that most doctors won’t prescribe it. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology says there’s not enough research on its effects on prenatal care to prescribe it confidently.
Fine, but women are doing it anyhow.
A 2014 study published recently by the JAMA Network found that four percent of pregnant women had smoked during pregnancy.
The anti-nausea and appetite-inducing properties of cannabis have many pregnant women convinced to at least try.
“I went from losing six pounds before every doctor’s visit to being able to just maintain my weight,” said a California woman who had HG through all three of her pregnancies.
A team lead by Dr. Shayna Conner set out to determine whether or not prenatal cannabis use is associated with negative health consequences.
They performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies that compared rates of cannabis consumption to birth outcomes.
After examining all of the data, the team found two primary outcomes popped up consistently: low birth weight and preterm delivery. Those who oppose cannabis often use these two potential impacts as arguments.
However, this new study found something interesting.
After sorting out tobacco use and other confounding factors, researchers found no statistical correlation between cannabis use and any negative birth outcomes.
They concluded the following: Maternal marijuana use during pregnancy is not an independent risk factor for adverse neonatal outcomes after adjusting for confounding factors. Thus, the association between maternal marijuana use and adverse outcomes appears attributable to concomitant tobacco use and other confounding factors.
But, women who suffer from HG are still afraid because in most states, testing positive for drugs while pregnant or right after birth, is grounds for child welfare agencies to get involved.