Smoking Weed While Pregnant: How Bad is it, Really?


Congratulations! You and your partner have just found out that you’re going to be parents! In this exciting time, it’s likely that you’ll want to celebrate. You know not to reach for the alcohol, as research has shown that consuming alcohol during pregnancy can have extremely negative effects on the developing fetus. Your eyes fall on the bong, and you think, is smoking weed while pregnant okay?

While marijuana is (slowly) being accepted in today’s culture as relatively low-risk and safe for adults to consume, there is a legal smoking age for a reason. Let’s dive into the effects of smoking weed while pregnant – or consuming cannabis products of any kind during pregnancy, and afterward.

Give it to Me Straight, Doc

I’m not going to sugarcoat this: smoking weed while pregnant is ultimately not a good idea. Although limited research has been done on the subject, a basic understanding of mammalian pregnancy suggests the following:

  • A portion of THC that is ingested by a pregnant woman will wind up in the bloodstream of the fetus, due to the transfer of blood and oxygen through the placenta.
  • Smoking (of any kind) increases the levels of carbon monoxide in the bloodstream, which then reduces the amount of oxygen that the fetus is receiving through the umbilical cord. This can impact the growth and development of the fetus.

Though there have been no proven birth defects linked to smoking weed while pregnant, prenatal exposure to marijuana has been linked to physical or neurological developmental delays. Also, long-term marijuana use during pregnancy may result in low birth weight, premature birth, or even stillbirth.

What About After I’ve Given birth?

Although it would be nice to treat yourself to a toke or two after pushing a watermelon-sized human out of a lemon-sized hole, doctors recommend against it. The THC in your blood can find its way into breast milk, which is then ingested by your nursing baby. THC binds to fat cells (we all know and love how chunky newborns can be), and can have adverse effects on a developing infant; including the slowing of brain development and decreased motor development.

mother-daughter-sunset-weedOther studies have shown that when exposed to THC through breast milk, infants may experience poor feeding and sucking, tremors, and slow weight gain. These potential side effects of second-hand marijuana consumption, both during and after pregnancy, are detrimental to the normal developmental process of a human being. They are also unfair and, in essence, being forced upon developing fetuses and feeding infants who rely on their mothers to keep them alive and help them grow.

In Conclusion: Don’t

Although research on the subject of smoking weed while pregnant is not conclusive, it is best to err on the side of caution. Marijuana use has conclusively shown to impact the mental development of children, teenagers, and adolescents – why risk similar developmental issues with your unborn child?

If you’re concerned about your own or your partner’s marijuana use during pregnancy, it is highly recommended that you discuss these concerns and habits with a licensed health care professional. Understanding the risks associated with smoking weed while pregnant is an important step toward a healthy pregnancy for a marijuana user.