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Risks associated with marijuana use during pregnancy

Some of the common tips that pregnant mothers often hear include avoiding drinking, staying away from substance and taking enough rest.  However, despite all “dos and don’ts,” pregnant females often switch to substances like alcohol or other hard drugs in order to get rid of their nervousness and jitters experienced during pregnancy.regnancy period turn to marijuana to alleviate their symptoms. The toxic chemicals according to several authentic sources increase the risk of miscarriage, especially when consumed early in pregnancy. It also increases the risk of developing developmental and hyperactivity disorders in children.

The chemicals present in marijuana, particularly tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, can pass through the placenta into the mother’s bloodstream, and can cause chronic effects on the fetus. Moreover, pregnant women who consume marijuana are two to three times more likely to use tobacco, alcohol or other toxic drugs.

Since the baby’s neural cord, which eventually becomes the brain and spinal cord, is formed during the first month pregnancy, exposure to marijuana can cause some of the long-lasting effects, such as problems related to neurological development and cognitive-behavioral skills, such as problem solving, decision making, memory, etc. Moreover, it increases the fetus’ risk to developing serious health detriments.

Using marijuana to treat nausea during pregnancy can prove disastrous

A research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) in January 2017 reported that the use of marijuana among pregnant women has increased to 62 percent. Of the many substances available, the use of marijuana is quite widespread among pregnant women. It was found that the prevalence rate was highest among women aged 18 to 25 years, indicating the higher prenatal risk due to marijuana use among young women.

Dr. Nora Volkow outlined in the JAMA how babies exposed to marijuana during pregnancy are more likely to be born anemic. They are also likely to have lower birth weight. They require placement in a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) compared to the infants of mothers who did not use marijuana.

A number of women who resort to marijuana as a solution to treat nausea, including hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). However, marijuana use during pregnancy is widely associated with a host of prenatal issues. The endocannabinoid system (ECS), which is known to play a key role in the development of neural circuitry in the brain formation that includes the genesis and migration of neurons, is severely affected due to the substances like marijuana. Thus, marijuana use during early pregnancy, precisely the first trimester, is associated with negative consequences for fetal brain development that can cause structural and functional neurodevelopmental disorders.

Other effects of marijuana use during pregnancy on the infant

Several studies explain the different effects of marijuana during the various stages of fetus development. They have highlighted that infants exposed to marijuana during pregnancy exhibited altered responses to visual stimuli, increased trembling and a high-pitched cry, which may indicate problems with neurological development.

As mentioned above, these children are likely to have poor memory and insufficient problem-solving skills. They may exhibit the signs of inattentiveness. However, considering genetic factors, prenatal exposure to marijuana is also associated with a predisposition to the drug as a young adult.

Breastfeeding is another stage where the intensity of the effects of marijuana on infants can rise to its peak. The high concentration of THC can accumulate in the mother’s breast milk, outweighing the infant’s risk, thereby exhibiting the signs of sedation, reduced muscle tone and poor sucking. However, the effect on the baby may vary depending upon the amount, potency and contaminants present in marijuana.

Abstain from substances during pregnancy

Pregnancy is one of the critical phases in a woman’s life. During this life-changing period, she has to endure several emotional and biological changes. A slight deviance from healthy behavioral patterns and digression to toward dangerous substances like marijuana can put both the child and mother in a risky situation. Therefore, it is advisable to track one’s behavior and abstain from toxic substances during pregnancy.

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