Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Rise in Pregnant Women Using Pot for Morning Sickness

More and more pregnant women are turning to pot to ease morning sickness, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Not surprisingly, the findings coincide with the growing legalization of medical and recreational marijuana.

After surveying over 200,000 pregnant women, researchers found that more than 5 percent had recently used marijuana. And it was most common among women struggling with morning sickness than those without. Pot use more than doubled among women with mild symptoms, and was nearly four times higher among those with severe symptoms.

Researchers don't know how many women used the drug prior to pregnancy and the study didn’t prove that morning sickness drove women to the drug. It did suggest, however, that women are using pot as a form of self-medication, Young-Wolff, a research scientist at Kaiser Permanente Northern California, in Oakland, told HealthDay.

"These findings are concerning," she said. "It's really important that we connect women with medically approved treatments for nausea and vomiting during pregnancy."

While pot has been found to ease nausea and vomiting, there’s no research showing its effectiveness for morning sickness. According to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “women who are pregnant or contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue marijuana use” and “to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy.”

Dr. Anthony Scialli, an obstetrician/gynecologist in Washington, D.C., said he wasn’t too surprised by these findings. He noted that many women who use pot for morning sickness are often using the drug before becoming pregnant. "They also believe that it's safe to use during pregnancy," Sciali told HealthDay.

While research is still ongoing, there are some proven negative health effects of using marijuana during pregnancy.  Here are a few outlined by ACOG. 
  • Premature birth, or birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy. 
  • Low birth weight.
  • Anencephaly. This is a severe neural tube defect that causes missing major parts of the brain, skull and scalp. Babies with this condition do not survive long after birth.
  • Anemia, or lack of healthy red blood cells that carry oxygen to the baby’s body.
  • Problems with brain development.
  • Stillbirth, or when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.   
Getting Help for Marijuana Abuse
If you use marijuana and are pregnant or considering pregnancy, we can work together to create a treatment plan. To learn more about our rehab services for women, call today: 866-746-1558. 

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