When women become pregnant, their bodies and minds go through immense changes. Not only do hormones shift, but their bodies grow to create room for a new life to grow. Along with this, their appetite changes, stress may increase, and the complications they may face can continue postpartum. Find out why some women may consider using cannabis during pregnancy and postpartum, along with what risks may occur as a result.
Growing a New Life
Babies adapt very easily to their environment in the womb. Generally, they are able to withstand a lot of the changes that happen to a mother’s body outside of the womb. The effects of cannabis use during pregnancy on the child in utero and postpartum are still being studied. Although well documented with alcohol use disorder, it is less determinable of the effects of cannabis use. THC has been shown to cross the placenta in rhesus monkeys within 15 minutes of use and the endocannabinoid system is impacted. There may be risks and implications for the fetus as a result, which are still being studied. The activation of CB1 receptors plays an important role in brain development that may be disrupted if the mother consumes cannabis with THC.
Choline is a nutrient found in food including eggs, meat, and potatoes. The body may produce its own choline but it is normally not enough as the baby’s brain requires choline synthesis to develop acetylcholine. Choline development in a fetus may be impacted by maternal use of cannabis. Increasing choline in a person’s diet may not combat this issue but mothers are encouraged to ingest around 900 mg of choline every day to mitigate potentially harmful effects of gestational THC exposure.
The developing brain may be vulnerable to the use of THC as it impacts impulse control, executive functions, emotional development, and reward processing. Children of mothers who use cannabis in utero may be more likely to be hyperactive and have less impulse control. Brain development is very important for a fetus. Mental health can be impacted by mothers who heavily use cannabis during the first trimester. It is important to know the associated risks prior to use, especially if heavy use is a challenge.
Although women often struggle in the postpartum period with issues like anxiety, depression, and poor sleep, cannabis should be consumed in moderation. There are studies that look at whether it goes through breast milk or may be passed on through second-hand smoke. The most effective way to balance use is to look at risks and benefits. The more studies continue, the more people can learn about the impact on mothers and babies, while also helping women postpartum with anxiety or depression who may benefit from cannabis but want to mitigate risks to their baby.
Mary and Main are here to help you discern the best products and services for your situation. If you are pregnant or postpartum, we can help you understand the way cannabis may support your challenges and offer an understanding of the risks and rewards. It is also good to speak with a treating physician to find out what may be best for you. Call us to find out more about the use of cannabis while pregnant or postpartum.