Even though legalization is right around the corner, many women today are afraid to talk to their doctors about cannabis use while they are pregnant. There was a study done in Jamaica that shows it is certainly not harmful. We also have new information that shows that mothers' milk contains cannabinoids. Each of us need to decide whether or not to talk to our doctors about our cannabis consumption; it is a very personal decision. Here's what happened to me.
I was considered “old” when I got pregnant with my son at age 31 in 1985. I was living in Juneau, Alaska at the time, and possession of under an ounce of cannabis was legal. Mothers were not drug tested by the state in those days, and we did not run the risk of losing our children at birth for a positive drug test alone. My pregnancy was not exactly high risk, but my obstetrician did have some concerns. She was notoriously lacking in bedside manner and was well known for her no-nonsense approach with her patients. My mother, a registered nurse, was one of the few who got along well with her and suggested I give her a try. I appreciated her straight shooter approach, even though I was a little intimidated by her.
I was put on bed rest during my first trimester due to spotting and my inability to keep any food down. I was nauseous throughout the day, and everything I ate came back up. My doctor assured me that the morning sickness would end once I got into my second trimester.
Unfortunately, that was not the case. I found relief from the constant nausea with cannabis. I had been a regular social user before my pregnancy, and I was very open about my cannabis consumption with my family. But, even though my mother was very accepting, I was afraid to talk to her or my doctor about using cannabis to end my all-day morning sickness. So, I limited my cannabis consumption to those times when the nausea became unbearable. During my second trimester, my doctor became concerned because I was not gaining enough weight to support the new life growing within me. Those were the days of natural childbirth and prescription anti-nausea medications were scary and not often prescribed to pregnant women.
Finally, I asked her about using cannabis. I explained that I had tried it only during my worst episodes and that it helped immensely. I was completely taken aback when she said, “Well, if it is working for you, I don’t see a problem.” She was all business when she made this statement, and I remember being nervous about looking at her while I stated my case.
Eventually, I looked up from my seat on the exam table to see my doctor smiling at me as she said, “Just don’t toke all day like Bob Marley, and you and the baby should be just fine.”
Of course, she was right. I stuck to my natural childbirth plan and had a huge but healthy 11 lb. 5 ½ oz. baby boy who has grown into a strong young man. Since then, I tell all my doctors about my cannabis use as part of my health history. The consensus has been that they are more concerned about smoking than anything else.