Yes. Research shows that if people use cannabis while pregnant, their babies may be born with a lower birth weight, making it likely the baby will experience health problems. People who use cannabis while breastfeeding risk harming the growth and development of their baby’s brain.
No matter how a pregnant person uses cannabis (smoking, vaping, consuming or drinking), the active ingredient in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), can reach their baby in three ways:
- Through the bloodstream and into the placenta (the organ that feeds your baby during pregnancy).
- Through breast milk. “Pumping and dumping” doesn’t work. THC is stored in fat cells and is slowly released over several weeks, so it stays in your breast milk.
- Through secondhand smoke that enters the baby’s lungs.
Leading doctors organizations such as the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend that people who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant soon, discontinue use of cannabis.
People who already use cannabis for medicinal purposes should stop use in favor of an alternative treatment that research shows is safer during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about any questions you have about cannabis.
People who are pregnant should not breathe cannabis smoke. It is bad for both the person who is pregnant and baby because, like tobacco smoke, it lowers oxygen levels, introduces toxins into the body, and harms your lungs.
Using cannabis while pregnant or breastfeeding can have negative impacts on the baby’s development. Using cannabis can impair your judgement and coordination, and should be used with caution. Do not operate a motor vehicle under the influence of cannabis. Cannabis use is prohibited for anyone under age 21 for a reason: Cannabis can negatively impact brain development. Look for THC concentrations in cannabis before use, as different forms can have very different levels of THC and can cause more severe reactions.