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  1. chillinwill
    Women who smoke marijuana during pregnancy may impair their baby's growth and development in the womb, a new study suggests.

    Poor fetal growth and reduced head circumference at birth are linked to an increased risk of problems with thinking, memory and behavior in childhood. Cigarette smoking during pregnancy is known to impair fetal growth, but studies on the potential effects of marijuana have been inconclusive.

    For the new study, researchers in the Netherlands followed more than 7,000 pregnant women, 3 percent of whom acknowledged smoking marijuana at least during early pregnancy. They found that babies born to marijuana users tended to weigh less and have smaller heads than other infants.

    What's more, the study found, the longer a woman had used marijuana during pregnancy, the stronger the impact on birth size -- suggesting that the drug itself was to blame.

    And while most marijuana users in the study also smoked cigarettes, the drug appeared to have effects over and above those of tobacco. In fact, marijuana showed stronger effects on birth size than tobacco, the investigators report in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

    The findings suggest that marijuana use, even restricted to early pregnancy, may have irreversible effects on fetal growth, write the researchers, led by Hannan El Marroun of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam.

    To prevent this, they add, women who smoke marijuana should quit before becoming pregnant.

    The study included almost 7,500 pregnant women who were surveyed on their use of alcohol, tobacco and drugs, and had ultrasounds to chart fetal growth during the first, second and third trimesters.

    Overall, 214 women said they had used marijuana before and during early pregnancy; 81 percent quit after learning they were pregnant, but 41 women continued to smoke marijuana throughout pregnancy.

    The researchers found that, on average, marijuana users gave birth to smaller babies, particularly those who had used throughout pregnancy.

    Women who had smoked only during early pregnancy had babies who were

    156 grams -- about 5.5 ounces -- lighter than infants born to women who had not used the drug. Women who had continued to smoke past early pregnancy had babies who were 277 grams, or nearly 10 ounces, smaller.

    Based on ultrasound, marijuana use only in early pregnancy impaired fetal growth by about 11 grams per week, while use throughout pregnancy slowed fetal growth by roughly 14 grams per week. That compared with a deficit of 4 grams per week with tobacco use, the researchers found.

    Similar patterns were seen when the researchers looked at fetal head circumference.

    According to El Marroun's team, mothers' marijuana use could stunt fetal growth for several reasons. Like tobacco smoking, it may deprive the fetus of oxygen. It is also possible that the byproducts of marijuana directly affect the developing nervous and hormonal systems of the fetus.

    Finally, the researchers note, pregnant women who use marijuana may have other factors in their lives - such as a less-than-healthy diet or chronic stress -- that could contribute to poor fetal growth.

    SOURCE: Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, December 2009.

    January 22, 2010
    Reuters
    http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60L55L20100122

Comments

  1. Greenport
    I think that it is very inconsiderate of a parent to use any drugs while pregnant. Even caffeine has been shown to increase the risk of miscarriage. While that fetus is growing, it needs to be protected and is not ready to face things like drugs. It needs to be given the healthiest environment possible to ensure that the child will come out with a fighting chance.

    On top of that, a dosage of any drug high enough to effect us would be overkill for an unborn baby.

    In swiM's state, the hospitals drug-test pregnant people anyways to make sure that they aren't consuming drugs during the pregnancy.
  2. luvforopi
    I have a friend whom smoked all through her pregnancy...Her son was so big they literally couldn't get him out! after a very traumatic birth he finally arrives in this world at a strong 10 pounds!! The boy is now 5 years old and weighs 6 stone and is nearly four foot. He wears clothes size 10 - 11 years!!!

    My point here is, that if you do smoke through your pregnancy and don't see any immediate effects at the start it doesnt mean the child has gotten off scott free. He has addhd and has just been diagnosed as autistic. We believe it was due to the use of marjiuana throughout the pregnancy, but of course there is no way to no for sure if this is the true cause.......

    I only say as I hope this can help people to see that just because it is plant it is not harmless. Our most potenet drugs and poisions come from plants!!!
  3. enquirewithin
    My sisters-in-law both swore off any kinds of drugs, even caffeine and especially nicotine, during pregnancy. Some things are more important than drugs.
  4. SpatialReason
    Some children are cursed to mentally deficient parents and will be forever screwed for it sadly.

    I don't care what anyone says: a developing zygote, fetus, or soon-to-be infant has to come first, and smoking anything or ingesting anything that taxes your filtering organs will indeed make it to that developing child. Being as that child is not developed and is still forming an endocrine system and nervous system in its entirety, it is awful to think that a mother is so ignorant as to think that body within isn't having to cope with her bullshit.

    There is nothing that burns me more than seeing a pregnant woman smoke, drink heavy liquor, or get high in any form. The moment there is another life to be responsible for, drugs and drinking take a backseat. Same goes for daddy with the moment that baby makes eye contact: drugs and drinking are on sabbatical. From the moment until you trust that child to be responsible for her/his own care, there is no excuse.

    Nothing fumes me up more than seeing parents of a newborn acting like party animals. The moment you have a defenseless child that lives or dies based on your care, you have signed away your rights to be irresponsible.

    And the worst part is pure ignorance with cannabis. It is not a holy drug and savior of everything. There are people that genuinely think they are helping the child. I have, with my own ears, heard someone defend pot during her pregnancy. Let's face it, some people are stupid and it is nice to see a study that substantiates my claim of her being ignorant. The part that bothered me was their financial situation. If you have a baby on the way, maybe an ounce of dank isn't the best of budgeting techniques. Cribs, strollers, and etc are costly. They are smoking away the child's well-being in more than just ill health.

    *takes a deep breathe*

    I have seen horror stories before. I hate it. I really do.
  5. Terrapinzflyer
    I have requested the full paper (as wel as several others on the subject) be added to the archives in the medline thread.

    And while the abstract adds nothing- the article seems to show some flaws/bias. They state the majority of the cannabis smokers were also cigarette smokers, but from the article it does not seem birth weight/size differences were differentiated from those that only smoked tobacco. While cannabis use likely had an effect (and they do state it was above/beyond tobacco use)- it seems it is being exaggerated by not comparing to those using tobacco alone.

    There are also countless other factors not mentioned- stress, socio-economic situation, nutrition, pre-natal care, caffeine use, first pregnancy or later pregnancy, race...all of which are considdered factors in this equation.

    While I agree drugs should not be used during pregnancy (and that the male partner should also abstain in support, if nothing else), my gut feeling is this study is a bit overreaching in its "conclusions"
  6. SpatialReason
    Yeah, good point there on the story's validity. The cigarette smoking aspect of this study just absolutely ruins it for being valid. Babies of smoking are worse off than a joint in my book, and alcoholic beverages also make a big difference in the overall effects.
  7. Terrapinzflyer
  8. Shanthi
    What a tragedy that is... An autistic child that has this incredibly detaching, crippling (dependency on some other human for existence!) life on account of us (smoking mothers), is unforgivable! If we still have a soul we will struggle and kill ourselves to keep that abnormal child alive just to cope with the guilt else (more probable) we will collapse under the pressure, use it as an excuse to drug heavily and sacrifice the child to the neglected abnormal child/special child cause...

    Maybe my friend is too late already to have a child, at 35 she is a heavy pot smoker for 10 years now and doesnt even believe that stopping even now can give her a healthy baby. She'd rather live with lack of fulfilment of her womanhood than give lifelong pain to another human being. This string has just strengthened her determination. Hope she finds greater purpose to pull her through a lonely life with dignity and pride.
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