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Is it safe to try marijuana for morning sickness relief?

Our expert weighs in on pot use during pregnancy

March 24, 2017

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There is a rising number of women who are using pot while they are pregnant. That’s according to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. In 2014, almost 4 percent of pregnant women said they had recently used marijuana. It’s nearly double what that stat was in 2002.

“If you are suffering from morning sickness, it can be tempting to try just about anything to get rid of the nausea,” said Adrienne Richardson, MD, an OB-GYN with HealthPartners Health Center for Women. “But the fact is, using any amount of marijuana can be bad for your baby. That’s true during pregnancy. And it’s true after your child is born, too.”

Dr. Richardson is also the medical director of our Healthy Beginnings program. The program supports moms and helps babies have the best possible start in life. Here’s how she answers patient questions about pot use during pregnancy:

What are the risks?

Dr. Richardson: There are not as many studies out there as I would like on the effects of marijuana use during pregnancy.

However, there are some things we do know:

  • Some studies show that if you use marijuana during pregnancy, your child could have trouble with learning, memory, attention and behavior later in life.
  • Smoking marijuana during pregnancy can cause premature birth. This is also true for tobacco.
  • Marijuana can be contaminated with other substances. Mold, chemicals and other drugs have all been found in marijuana. After all, the FDA does not regulate it.

The bottom line is there are too many unknowns to consider it safe.

So how do I treat morning sickness?

Dr. Richardson: While morning sickness is unpleasant, it is important to remember that it will pass. And there are lots of safe remedies to help with it. Many of my patients find relief from:

  • Ginger – Anything with ginger can help you feel better naturally. I tell my patients to give ginger ale, ginger tea and ginger candies a try.
  • Wristbands – Wearing a wristband with a magnet in it can help. These also help people suffering from motion sickness.
  • Medication – If your morning sickness feels extreme, you can talk to your doctor about medicine to treat it.
  • The B.R.A.T. diet – Bananas, rice, applesauce and toast are bland and easy to digest.

Don’t be shy about talking with your doctor about how you’re feeling. If you regularly use marijuana and want to quit, they can help you find support systems. And if you are thinking about getting pregnant, now is a good time to quit. Marijuana stays in your system for a month or sometimes longer.

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