The use of marijuana adopted by women today to manage the side effects or to cope up with the anxiety during the postpartum period is not new. But is it safe for the breastfeeding moms? What are the effects of marijuana on the baby? You will find the answers here.
How safe marijuana really is?
The answer is a major Not-At-All!
Apart from the fact that smoking and doing drugs will seriously harm your health in the long run, it also has a number of harmful effects on your newborn child. Separate from the direct, chemical effects of marijuana on a baby, the use of marijuana may affect a mother’s ability to be able to properly care for her baby. Any second-hand smoke the baby is exposed to increases the amount of the drug your baby receives. Moreover, because street drugs are rarely pure, marijuana may be laced with other drugs or substances that can also be harmful to the breastfeeding baby.
- The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, is usually stored in a mother’s fat tissues for long periods of time from weeks to even months and build up in the body with continued use. Small to the moderate secretion of breast milk by smoking mothers document that the THC is usually concentrated in human milk. Moreover, analysis of the said breast milk from chronic heavy users indicated an eight-fold concentration in milk compared to a mother’s blood plasma.
- Unlike other drugs, marijuana metabolizes in the body way too slowly. It is stored in the fat cells and can stay there for weeks. This means, even after several sessions of breastfeeding for many days, the milk can still pass on the marijuana in the baby and may have adverse health effects.
- Marijuana causes sleepiness in babies which at times leads to slow weight gain and overall development of your child in the long run. In addition to this, babies whose mothers smoke marijuana regularly have a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Studies have also reported that the drug decreases milk production in a mammal’s body. The THC in weed suppresses the production of prolactin and also directly affects the mammary glands.
- Babies go through a significant amount of brain growth during the first few months of their life. Being exposed to marijuana during this time of their life may adversely alter their brain cells. Studies show that the DNA and RNA metabolism are also highly affected by the drug and the proteins needed for the proper growth and development of the child are impaired considerably.
- Lastly, studies have also shown for numerous cases the harmful effects on passive consumption of marijuana by infants. There have been cases of decreased motor development in the first year of the child’s birth.
Summing It Up
It does more harm than good. The short and long term effect on your health and that of your baby can be the cause of severe concern (more so in case of second-hand smoking). Keeping these in mind, we warn you to steer clear of any such drug abuse as it not only impairs your judgment and health but also adversely affects your child in many ways.