Skip to Content

Cannabis Use in Pregnancy

Cannabis is now legal in many states in the U.S. But being legal doesn't mean it’s safe. Cannabis use in pregnancy can harm your baby.

This includes:

  • Smoking

  • Vaping

  • Taking edibles

  • Using oils, creams, or lotions

The chemicals in cannabis can be passed to your baby. They pass through the placenta. They also pass through breastmilk.

Be open with your healthcare provider about your use of cannabis and other drugs. They want to help you and your baby be healthy. If prenatal visits, your provider will ask you questions about cannabis, alcohol, and medicines you take. If you need help to stop using a substance, they can help you start treatment. They can refer you to a specialist. Your provider can help you prepare for the safest birth and care of your baby.

Why do pregnant people use cannabis?

Some people may use cannabis to try to ease nausea and vomiting. If you have morning sickness or nausea, talk with your healthcare provider. They can tell you some safer ways to treat it. They may advise medicine and lifestyle changes.

Some people may use cannabis for anxiety or depression. These feelings are common in pregnancy. But they can be treated in safer ways. They can be treated with counseling. They can be treated with prescription medicine as needed.

Some people have a substance use disorder. This means it’s very hard to stop using a substance. They need healthcare support and treatment to help them stop.

Treatment for cannabis use in pregnancy

Medical experts advise to not use cannabis if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. If you use cannabis and are pregnant, your provider will tell you to cut back or stop. You may be able to do this on your own. Or ask for your provider’s help. You may want to join a program for stopping cannabis use. This may include:

  • Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT)

  • Motivational counseling

  • Goal setting

  • Monitoring

Possible complications of cannabis use in pregnancy

Studies don’t all agree on the effects cannabis has on pregnancy. More study is needed. But based on what is known so far, cannabis use can cause:

  • Placenta problems

  • Preterm birth

  • Low birth weight

  • Higher risk for baby entering NICU (neonatal intensive care unit)

  • Lower APGAR scores, a scoring system used to assess the health of newborns

  • Developmental delays

If you use cannabis in any form and are pregnant or planning to be, talk with your healthcare provider. Together you can make a plan for a safe and healthy pregnancy and baby.

Online Medical Reviewer: Heather M Trevino BSN RNC
Online Medical Reviewer: Irina Burd MD PhD
Date Last Reviewed: 1/7/2021
© 2000-2023 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.