I receive a lot of questions about women using cannabis for pregnancy and postpartum related symptoms and for menstrual cramps, body aches, etc. from mamas, doulas, and midwives. There is a lot of misinformation on the internet, so it is no wonder so many women are shy about their consumption. Most of the cannabis industry is marketing its products to young, single males when it’s actually mothers who make and influence the health decisions for everyone in her familiy. I am confident, however, that more research is being done on the benefits of cannabis on women’s health and thus more education will follow.
Nevertheless, here are THREE important things you need to know (there’s more):
1- There is not sufficient research to prove the benefits or harm of cannabis on pregnant women and/or on her unborn baby! However, there is medical evidence that has proven that even when the fetus is as tiny as two cells, it has an endocannabinoid system with receptors that binds to cannabinoids present in cannabis, such as CBD, to promote the growth and function of other body systems. Many pregnant women who have used cannabis during pregnancy have gone on to birth healthy, full term babies. In places like Jamaica, for example, women have reported heavy use of cannabis during pregnancy with no complications or side effects. The other research that does exist, is highly flawed.
2- If you are considering using cannabis while you are pregnant, talk to your doctor or midwife. If you do use Cannabis and you are pregnant, practice safe consumption. If you choose not to, that's great. Don't shame other women for their choice, opinion or thoughts about using cannabis while pregnant, especially if you lack proper information.
3- Many women have experienced relief from common pregnancy concerns such as pain relief, nausea, insomnia, hormonal and mood imbalances, the list goes on. People who are pregnant and are unable to take prescription medication to manage their mental health, also use cannabis to treat depression and anxiety. It's often the healthier alternative. Keep in mind also, that using cannabis requires making an informed decision, like many other decisions that women have to make during pregnancy and it is important to talk to your doctor. If your doctor is not aware of your consumption and for whatever reason does a drug test on you and your baby, the situation may not end well. However, if you are informed, and practicing safe consumption: a registered patient, using organic cannabis, medicating with an appropriate strain and application then there would be no reason for a doctor to suspect child negligence or drug abuse.
If you need assistance talking to your doctors about safe cannabis use during pregnancy and postpartum, I offer this service to my birth doula clients and to people interested in becoming registered medical cannabis patients. It can be a pretty intense conversation, especially when your provider isn't supportive (or informed) and it's good to be prepared with factual information about cannabis void of the stereotypes and misinformation often directed at Black mothers. To learn what cannabis strains, products, and methods of consumption work best for you and your lifestyle, schedule a consultation with Melanie Julion, HCHD.
The Cannabis Doula, a CTU Certified, Hyno-Birth Doula & Childbirth Educator