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/)

How does the morning-after pill work?

After the sperm penetrates and fertilizes the egg, 46 human chromosomes come together in a one-of-a-kind genetic design that determines a person’s eye and hair color, gender, skin tone, height and even the intricate swirl of the fingerprints.

Depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, the pill could affect you in one of three ways:

  • It may prevent ovulation: The egg will not be released to meet the sperm—so fertilization, sometimes known as conception, can’t occur.
  • It may affect the lining of your fallopian tubes so that sperm cannot reach the egg. This also prevents fertilization.
  • It may irritate the lining of your uterus. If an egg has already been released and fertilized by the sperm, this irritation could make it harder for the embryo to implant in your uterus.

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. 13; See footnote 1

Emergency Contraception — What is an Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)?

There are two kinds of emergency contraception — the morning-after pill and Intra-Uterine Devices (IUDs).  In this blog we will talk about an intra-uterine device (IUD).

  • So, what is an Intra-Uterine Device (IUD)?

An Intra-Uterine Device (IUD) is a generic term for a device that is placed in your uterus to prevent pregnancy. Paragard® (intrauterine copper contraceptive) is a brand that offers a copper-releasing device that is placed in your uterus to prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. A ParaGard® IUD insertion costs between $500 and $900 and is inserted by a doctor or nurse at a health center. There are several cautions before using Paragard®. Do not use Paragard® if you have a pelvic infection, get infections easily or have certain cancers. Some users get a serious infection called pelvic inflammatory disease. Occasionally, Paragard® may attach to or in rare cases may go through the uterine wall and may also cause other problems. In some cases, surgical removal may be necessary. Pregnancy while using Paragard® can be life threatening and may result in loss of pregnancy or fertility. Paragard® does not protect against HIV or STDs and is available by prescription only.

Think carefully before you use Paragard®, and make sure you understand the side effects and risks. Piedmont Women’s Center offers support as you consider whether emergency contraceptives or abortion may be for you and answers any questions you may have. Please give us a call at 864-244-1434. It is safe, confidential, and our all-women team is supportive for whatever need you are facing.

Source: http://www.paragard.com/

What is an Emergency Contraception—and more specifically, the morning-after pill?

There are two kinds of emergency contraception — the morning-after pill and Paragard®  insertion. In this blog we will talk about the morning-after pill.

  • The morning-after pill or Plan B® is a drug intended to be taken as soon as possible within the first 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy. It contains a high dose of a progesterone (levonorgestrel), which is found in many kinds of birth control pills. At the dosage found in the morning-after pill, this drug may irritate the lining of your uterus, causing the embryo inside you from implanting, ending its life. If this happens, an abortion will occur, because each human life begins as an embryo. The morning-after pill is often referred to by the brand name that started it all—Plan B®. In 2009, Plan B® was reformulated and renamed Plan B One-Step®. It is now taken as a single-dose tablet. A two-dose generic form is also available.  The morning-after pill costs around $30 to $65, and some emergency contraceptions depend on your body mass index (BMI), in order to determine how effective they may be. The morning-after pill does not protect against HIV or STDs.

Think carefully before you use the morning-after pill, and make sure you understand the side effects and risks. Piedmont Women’s Center offers support as you consider whether emergency contraceptives may be for you. Please give us a call at 864-244-1434 . It is safe, confidential, and our all-women team is supportive for whatever need you are facing.

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: Keith L. Moore and T.V.N. Persaud. The Developing Human: Clinically Oriented Embryology, 6th Edition (Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, 1998), pp.2-3

Footnote 3: “Watson Pharmaceuticals Receives FDA Approval for Generic Plan B® for Over-the-Counter Use”; August 28, 2009: http://ir.watson.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=65778&p=irol-newsArticle&ID=1325502

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