Believe it or not, pregnant women are opting to use weed above morning sickness drugs to cure pregnancy nausea. But not everyone is on board with this.
A possible new cure for morning sickness is here...but it's more than a little bit controversial.
On the flip side, the American Medical Association insists that taking marijuana during pregnancy is dangerous and is pushing for regulations that will make pregnant women think twice before lighting up; the group wants written warnings against using marijuana while pregnant or breastfeeding on both medical and recreational marijuana, as well as a written warning posted wherever weed is sold.
According to an NBC report, studies have linked marijuana use during pregnancy to childhood attention problems, low birth weight, premature birth and behavioral issues in children. Diana Ramos, M.D., a physician with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), points out that cigarettes and alcohol packages have similar warnings. According to Dr. Ramos, marijuana is "the most commonly used elicit drug during pregnancy" and should be noted as such.
More recently, a study found that about 4 percent of pregnant women admitted they used weed during pregnancy in 2014—a rate that was up from 2.4 percent in 2002.
Weed use on the rise
ACOG says the prevalence of women who use weed while pregnant hovers around a significant two to five percent. Keep in mind those are self-reported stats; the number may very well be higher. According to marijuana seed retail site Royal Queens Seeds, most pregnant women who use marijuana are smoking it—because while pregnancy cravings often include things like cookies and brownies, women with extreme nausea might not be able to stomach weed-laced baked goods.
But there are definitely still supporters of marijuana as a morning sickness cure who say that there's little evidence of harm. After all, there's been scientific evidence to suggest that alcohol is more dangerous during pregnancy than marijuana is—that doesn't mean weed is necessarily safe for pregnant women, but it is worth noting.
The risks of pot in pregnancy
This is undoubtedly a controversial topic but as of right now, the AMA is adament that all marijuana use should be avoided during pregnancy. Fit Pregnancy spoke with Alexandra Schmidt, D.O., an OBGYN in Boca Raton, Fla. to get a better sense of what could go wrong when a woman uses marijuana while pregnant. She cited impaired nuerodevelopment, smaller birth size and even stillbirth as possible dangers.
Dr. Schmidt also points out that there's a big difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana. "If you're getting it on the street, you can't be sure what you're getting," she says. "The true risks are not known at this time."
Before even considering the controversial drug, Dr. Schmidt urges pregnant women to try more conventional morning sickness cures first, like vitamin B6 and ginger. "Then we'd just have to have a discussion about whether just smoking a little bit of marijuana would stop them from having a whole hospital admission—then that might be something to talk about," she adds.
A group of pregnant women who smoke marijuana through pregnancy spoke to Vice about their decisions, making it seem like even if the AMA passes its proposed ruling, some women might not heed their warnings. Only one thing is clear in all this: We need more research to really understand how marijuana can affect a fetus. With that being said, you might want to wait on more conclusive results before you light one.