Everyone is quick to celebrate the miracle of childbirth. But sometimes it can cause pain bringing another human into this world. Doctors in hospitals currently give mothers drugs for a successful labor with less pain. But these medications come with their own set of risks for the baby and the mother. Medical marijuana has been shown to work well to help with many conditions and procedures. So doctors and expectant mothers both continue to wonder, could cannabis replace traditional labor medications?
Traditional Labor Medications
Some expectant mothers prefer to experience the miracle of life without the help of drugs. But many do seek pain relief or help. And doctors are quick to provide medications.
Pitocin is a long-established drug given during labor. It is a synthetic form of oxytocin, a hormone that encourages feelings of bonding.
Also, it causes uterine contractions.
To put it bluntly, Pitocin is given to get the party started.
But this drug comes with some downsides. Patients may respond to the drug strongly. They may even develop stronger contractions than the baby can handle. These contractions can be powerful enough to harm the baby and restrict its air flow.
Not to mention, the drug can deliver contractions so strong, it can tear the uterus too.
Pitocin isn’t the only drug doled out. An epidural is anesthesia put inside the spinal cord. Inserted into the lower back, it numbs the nerves that give the sensation of pain without holding up any muscles.
This help is critical when it finally comes time to push. But this drug comes with its own pitfalls too. It can cause headaches, infections, or damage to the spinal cord.
Opiates also make the list of drugs expectant mothers can use during labor. These drugs such as morphine, Fentanyl, or Demerol often come with bad effects for both mother and child if they are used during labor.
Since opiates cross the placenta during childbirth, these drugs can directly damage the baby’s central nervous system. They can also cause respiratory or neurological issues. Mothers may experience nausea, itching, vomiting or dizziness.
With all of these issues with childbirth’s current drug cocktail, could cannabis replace traditional labor medications?
Pot Use During Pregnancy
People with a spectrum of aches, pains, and issues prefer weed for pain relief. But the world still needs time and freedom to research the effects of cannabis during pregnancy and labor. Some argue CBD oil during pregnancy can be helpful for pain relief. This oil lacks THC. Studies have shown THC could cause damage to the baby’s brain.
But many women also claim they have positive effects. Some experience hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) need this type of treatment. This rare and intense morning sickness results in weight loss and dehydration. Without cannabis, many of these women suffer through their pregnancy
But be careful still before using cannabis during those long nine months or for labor. The government still tries control what happens inside a woman’s body.
Many lawmakers still see weed as a Schedule 1 drug. So, they have entertained enacting laws to see pregnant women who use weed punished.
So with the jury still out on cannabis use during pregnancy, the topic of cannabis use during the act of labor also has opposing views.
A New Labor Medication?
But what research out there shows, could cannabis replace traditional labor medications like opiates?
It seems results aren’t as good as one would hope. The National Institute of Health studied 313 pregnant women who were all self-reported weed users. These women chose home-delivery centers, not hospitals for their child’s birth.
They also used cannabis during labor. Out of these 313 women, labor was dysfunctional for 43% of them. In the group that didn’t use the drug, 35% of women experienced labor issues.
But the study deserves some attention. The pool of pregnant women also claims tobacco and alcohol use. Knowing that, the women could have been experiencing side effects of these other drugs while in labor. So, it may not be directly related to their cannabis use.
Final Hit: Could Cannabis Replace Traditional Labor Medications?
The scientific world still does not know if marijuana serves as a useful drug during pregnancy. Researchers still need to study more how it affects childbirth.
As states legalize bud and the medical Mary Jane industry expands to treat other issues, cannabis might be the miracle drug to end the pain of going through the miracle of life.
Who knows? Maybe in a few years, doctors might offer mothers in labor a puff while they push.