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Marijuana and Pregnancy

Using marijuana during pregnancy can be detrimental to a baby’s health, potentially leading to severe complications such as stillbirth, premature birth, and developmental issues. Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug among pregnant women in the U.S., with its use increasing across all adult age groups, both genders, and among expectant mothers. Despite some states legalizing marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes, it remains illegal at the federal level. Many pregnant women consider it a safe, natural remedy for nausea and vomiting, commonly known as “morning sickness.” However, marijuana use during pregnancy poses significant, potentially fatal risks. These risks also extend to individuals who are not pregnant.

Health Effects of Marijuana During Pregnancy

  • Fetal growth restriction (when a baby doesn’t gain the appropriate amount of weight before birth).
  • A greater risk of stillbirth
  • Preterm birth (being born before 37 weeks of gestation)
  • Low birth weight
  • Long-term brain development issues affecting memory, learning, and behavior

Marijuana use while breastfeeding carries significant risks for the baby. THC and other chemicals in marijuana can be transferred to the baby through breast milk, which can lead to potential developmental issues. These substances can affect the baby’s brain development, increasing the risk of cognitive and behavioral problems. Therefore, it is crucial for breastfeeding mothers to avoid marijuana use to ensure the health and well-being of their child.

Consult your doctor, midwife, or another healthcare provider to understand the risks of marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and to learn about safe options for treating morning sickness.

If you or someone you know needs assistance with substance use—whether it’s methamphetamine, alcohol, or another drug—reach out for help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357), TTY: 1-800-487-4889, text your zip code to 435748 (HELP4U), or use SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to find support.



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