Marijuana Use During Pregnancy

Marijuana (also known as pot or weed) is formally known as cannabis sativa. It is used in a variety of ways to obtain a pleasant feeling or even encourage food intake. The active part of the drug, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), passes easily into the body’s bloodstream. It makes its way into the brain to cause the high and other sometimes not so desired effects. In a pregnant user, besides affecting her, it also affects the unborn child. If you have questions regarding marijuana use, please contact us for a FREE appointment. Our women’s clinic can educate you on health factors related to marijuana use in pregnancy.

As more is desired, the woman may be led to more potent drugs with even more dangerous effects. Addiction leads to poor performance and the risk of auto accidents increases. The high becomes very costly to the woman in every way possible, including her normal responsibilities. More physically dangerous actions occur, and effects become uncontrollable. The little person in the womb needs only nourishment from his/her mother, but he/she does not need the likely negative effects from a questionable drug.

Hospital studies have been done of marijuana users who were intoxicated and/or mentally impaired. Emergency room (ER) admissions show its most negative effects as some of these ER patients had dangerously combined marijuana with other drugs. Synthetic cannabinoids (synthetic marijuana) use has become another reason for ER visits. Dangerous results made by poor judgment were likely increased or caused by the marijuana’s effects. Younger age concerns exist in this picture. “Marijuana was the most commonly reported primary substance of abuse among admissions that initiated substance use at the age of 14 or younger” (SAMHSA Treatment Episode Data 2011).

What about brain formation concerns in the baby? Although findings are not all in, here is an example of what is known. A Swedish researcher’s finding was that circuit pathways in the brain can be permanently damaged from drugs. He explained that this damage occurs to a part (an axon) of a nerve cell. The process that sends impulses to another nerve cell does not happen in some pathways. Even if these pathways are not used for a long period of time, these axons can cause the brain’s nerves in those pathways to not properly communicate. Studies have shown increased incidence of mental illnesses and addiction tendencies in children that were exposed to cannabis while in the womb. For this reason, the respected medical researcher made the statement that “cannabis should be avoided during pregnancy” (Healthline News, 01/28/2014).

The British Medical Journal Open published an article earlier this year regarding effects of marijuana on fetal outcome, and from the 24 studies in this review, researchers concluded that exposure to marijuana in utero may affect the baby after delivery, although not structural birth defects, but effects such as low birth weight or need for NICU (BMJ Open, 04/05/2016).

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reported in July 2015 that 48-60% of female marijuana users continue their use of marijuana during pregnancy, because they may believe that marijuana use is not putting them or their baby in any danger. However, according to ACOG, studies suggest that marijuana exposure in utero may affect the child’s attention span and school performance, as well as possibly contributing to behavioral problems down the road. ACOG recommends that all pregnant women discontinue marijuana use.

Get OB care for your pregnancy, and follow your doctor’s guidance for going off drugs safely. Refusing marijuana and other drugs of abuse presented to you before and while pregnant is a major way to provide health for you, your pregnancy, and your child.

Source of information and quotes:

Barclay, Rachel; Healthline News (http://www.healthline.com/health-news/children-cannabis-impairs-fetal-brain-development-012814), quote by professor Tibor Harkany  at Karolinka Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden.

National Alliance on Mental Illness (http://www.nami.org/Learn-More/mental-health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Dual-Diagnosis).

SAMHSA (www.samhsa.gov); this agency can offer help to deal with substance abuse and addiction.

Gunn, J.K.L., Rosales, C.B., Center, K.B., Nunez, A., Gibson, S.J., Christ, C., Ehirir, J.E. British Medical Journal Open. Prenatal exposure to cannabis and maternal and child health outcomes: a systematic review and meta-analysis. http://bmjopen.bmj.com/content/6/4/e009986.full?sid=695c8cf2-ab2f-4f33-834e-4898c16b6a3a), 04/05/2016.

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Committee Opinion: Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and Lactation. Number 637, July 2015. http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Obstetric-Practice/Marijuana-Use-During-Pregnancy-and-Lactation.

Resources for parents to find specialized care for their children:

Child Development Services is a link between several different agencies in the City of Greenville, SC and Greenville County (http://www.cdservices.org).

SC First Steps (http://scfirststeps.com/babynet/)

Nurse-Family Partnership (www.nursefamilypartnership.org)

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, http://www.samhsa.gov/)

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

Also known as an extrauterine pregnancy, an ectopic pregnancy is a potentially life-threatening condition in which a fertilized egg implants outside of the
uterus—most often in the fallopian tubes. The morning-after pill won’t end an ectopic pregnancy. If you have severe abdominal pain three to five weeks after using the morning-after pill, see your health care professional to rule out an ectopic pregnancy. If an embryo is growing in a fallopian tube, you will need to seek emergency care.

what is ectopic pregnancy

 

 

Source: © 2009, 2012 Focus on the Family “The Morning-After Pill” pamphlet

Footnote 1: FDA Prescribing and Label Information for Plan B One-Step®, Rev. July 2009; pp. 13-14; www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2009/021998lbl.pdf

Footnote 2: FDA Prescribing and Label Information for Plan B One-Step®, Rev. July 2009, p. 6 and 17; See footnote 1

Footnote 3: Picture from www.mayoclinic.org

My girlfriend’s pregnant. Now what?

My girlfriend’s pregnant. Now what?
Hearing the news that you’ve created your first child is bound to result in some powerful emotions. Some of them usually include:
1. Shock
2. Disbelief
3. Denial
4. Fear
5. Anger
6. My future is ruined
7. I’m too young
8. I just want to escape
If you think your emotions are crazy—just stop and think about what your girlfriend is feeling—probably the same very emotions.
Before either of you panics, gets angry, or lays the blame, just remember that it took both of you to create this pregnancy and it will take both of you being informed and thinking clearly to make a plan for what happens next.
Here are some things you should do:
1. Stay calm
2. Start to talk about and research all of your options together
3. Support your girlfriend emotionally
4. Pull together; don’t pull apart
5. Let her know you’ll work this out together
Here are some things you don’t want to do:
1. Get angry
2. Shout at your girlfriend
3. Say things like, “It’s not mine!”, “You’ve ruined my life”, “My parents will kill me!” “You’ll have to get an abortion!”, “It’s your decision, not mine!”
4. Pressure her to have an abortion.
Common fears about telling your parents:
1. They’ll be furious
2. They may kill me
3. I’ve got to finish school
4. They have such high hopes for me
5. They’ll be so disappointed
A gameplan for telling your parents
Before telling your parents, think for yourselves. Get the facts and have a plan. Your parents will likely have similar emotions you did when they first hear. It will be less traumatic for them and for you if you get your act together and present a united rational picture with your girlfriend.
We can help you prepare the facts and have a plan when it is time to tell your parents. Our confidential workers have given advice for years to couples that have found themselves in similar situations. We can help you stay calm, and support you through this emotional time in your life.

Parenting as an Alternative to Abortion

Becoming a parent is exciting and scary.

Parenting is a big responsibility, but it is one that comes with a lot of joy and satisfaction.

This pregnancy may not be planned, but that does not mean parenting isn’t the best option for you and your child.

A child needs love and stability, not perfection. Life may not be perfect right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be the “perfect” parent for your child.

We are here to help you sort through your concerns, fears, and hopes.

There are several parenting options for you to consider.

Marriage and parenting. You are ready to make a commitment to both your partner and the child, and choose to marry and raise the child together.
Things to consider: Have you been together for a while? Have you considered getting married? Do you have a good relationship? Are you committed to each other?

Joint parenting. Although not ready to make a marriage commitment, you and your partner choose to share responsibilities for raising the child in a joint custody arrangement.
Things to consider: Are you both committed to the child’s needs and best interests above your own? Are you able to work through scheduling, financial, commuting, and communication challenges?

Custodial parenting with visitation. One partner is fully committed to raising the child. The other partner is less than fully committed.
Things to consider: Is the custodial parent able to take on nearly all of the responsibilities for the child? Is the visiting parent able to provide financial child support and invest some time in the child? Do both parents have an additional support system of family and friends? Are you able to work through scheduling, financial, commuting, and communication challenges?

Custodial parenting. One partner is fully committed to raising the child. The other partner is either unable to participate in parenting, does not want to be a part of the child’s life, or has exited the relationship.
Things to consider: As custodial parent, do you understand that responsibility for the child will fall completely on you? Do you have an additional support system of family and friends? Are you prepared to have to petition for child support?

Things to think about when considering parenting
• Am I ready to accept responsibility for my baby’s needs?
• Will the other birth parent be supportive?
• Do I have family support?
• Am I too young? Am I too old?
• How will I support myself and my child? Do I have a job? Will I be able to finish school?
• Where will we live?
• Do I have access to affordable medical care?
• What kind of life can I offer my child?
• Do I have any physical, mental, or emotional health issues that could impact my parenting?
• Do I struggle with substance abuse?
• Am I in a safe situation?

As you consider the above questions, you may feel overwhelmed with options and which is the right way for you to proceed. We are here to help.

Parenting can be very rewarding, and our team is here to help you decide if this is the best path forward. We are confidential, and have years of experience helping those who have found themselves in the same situation that you are now in.

The Adoption Option (Part 2) – Adoption Types

In the first blog, we talked about the different ways you can begin an adoption plan. In this part, we will distinguish those choices further.

 

Different types of adoption are distinguished by the level of contact between the birth parents, adoptive parents, and the child. As a birth parent, you have considerable control over what adoption type you choose. You’ll choose a type of adoption based on what level of contact you want, what your state allows, and what agency or facilitator you select.

 

Open adoption.  An open adoption allows for some level of direct contact between birth parents, adoptive parents, and the child. Typically, the birth mom writes an adoption plan for her child which includes choosing the adoptive parents and exchanging letters, pictures, and perhaps visits with her child. The adoptive parents can choose whether or not to accept her plan or negotiate parts of it. Birth parents and adoptive parents can have direct contact before and after the adoption. An open adoption can be handled through an agency or through an independent attorney, depending on state law.

 

Key outcomes
• greater control over the adoption process
• potential for a role in child’s life
• comfort in knowing about child’s well-being

 

Semi-open adoption (or “mediated adoption”). A mediated adoption is a variation of open adoption. Prior to placement, the birth parents and pre-adoptive parents exchange mostly non-identifying information. Once the child is placed in the adoptive home, the adopted child may have contact with the birth family that involves pictures, letters, or other types of communications sent through the adoption agency or the attorney who assisted with the placement.
Key outcomes
• some privacy for all parties
• the ability for all parties to have contact
• comfort in knowing about child’s well-being

 

Closed adoption (“confidential adoption,” “traditional adoption”). A closed adoption allows for no direct contact between birth parents, adoptive parents, and the child. The birth mom (or birth parents) may be given some non-identifying information about the adoptive parents, such as their ages and occupations. Adoptive parents are given information that will help them take care of the child, such as medical or family history. Specific information, including names and addresses, are not revealed to either party. A closed adoption is not as widely used today as it used to be in years past. It can be handled through an agency or through an independent attorney, depending on state law.
Key outcomes
• privacy for all parties
• possible sense of isolation for child, birth parent


Things to think about when considering adoption
• Am I able to give the child the love he needs and deserves? 
• Am I patient enough to deal with the noise, confusion, and the 24-hour-a-day responsibility of having a child? 
• How will I support myself and my child?
• Could I handle a child and a job and/or school while parenting? 
• How would I take care of my child’s health and safety?
• How do I feel about my child being raised in a one-parent household?
• Am I willing to learn about the various types of adoption?
• Do I know any birth moms who have placed? Adoptive families? Adoptees?

 

Overwhelmed with your choices? That’s totally understandable. We are confident we can help you sort through your different options so YOU make the best decision for YOU. Our team of ladies is waiting for your call so we can partner with you in making the best decision.