The Potential Effects of Cannabis during Pregnancy

Health advice

To learn more about cannabis, read the previous part — Cannabis Use by a Pregnant Woman.

Article updated June 1, 2023.

Many potential effects of cannabis use during pregnancy exist. Like for tobacco, cannabis use by a pregnant woman can affect the fetus and lead to health problems. Cannabis, like nicotine, constricts blood vessels (narrowing the vessels) which can limit the transmission of nutrients and oxygenation to a baby in full growth. Furthermore, second-hand smoke isn’t danger-free. Cannabis intolerance can lead to acute abdominal pain, which ceases only when the drug is stopped. Cannabis toxins are transported by the pregnant woman’s blood to the fetus, and can also be found in breast milk.

Heavy use of cannabis during pregnancy can mean that the drug invades the developing baby’s brain and impacts its normal development (cognitive and behavioural development). Cannabis use can also have a negative impact on breast milk production by inhibiting prolactin secretion.

Potential impacts on the pregnancy:

  •    Miscarriage risk (spontaneous abortion)
  •    Premature labour risk (if consumed heavily and regularly)

Possible effects on the fetus:

 If the pregnant woman uses both tobacco and cannabis, the impact on the baby is increased.

At birth:

  • Smaller head circumference (smaller cranial perimeter)
  • Growth delays
  • Low birth weight
  • Sleep disorders
  • Deprivation or withdrawal symptoms (trembling, irritability, slower reflexes, less reactive)
  • May have a cognitive impairment

Longer term (child or adolescent):

The brain develops until the age of 20 and can be influenced at any time. Children aren’t less intelligent, but effects may show up at different times over their lives, sometimes between 10 and 15 years:

  • A lowering:

        – Of memory capacity (memory problems)

        – Of concentration capacity (attention disorder)

        – Of reasoning and problem-solving skills

  • Hyperactivity
  • Learning and behavioural disorders (impulsivity)
  • Mental health problems, mood issues (anxiety, depression)
  • Increased risk of addiction problems in the future

To read the last part of this article, go to Fathers, Cannabis and Pregnancy.

Discover our videos

Subscribe to a monthly or quarterly package now to access full videos.

Physical Exam of a Baby

Physical Exam of a Baby

Parents may not know how a newborn will physically look after birth, and it may worry them. Marie does a
Preparing your Stay in the Hospital

Preparing your Stay in the Hospital

Who will go with you to the hospital? What papers do you need to fill in before admission? What is
Breastfeeding : Living the first moments

Breastfeeding : Living the first moments

Did you just give birth and the baby is searching for your breast? Along with Vicky Lefebvre, a breastfeeding consultant,
Pregnancy Monitoring

Pregnancy Monitoring

Did your pregnancy test come back positive? Congratulations! Now, what are the stages and exams that will lead you down

Discover other articles

Travelling with your Baby

Travelling with your Baby

Are you planning on a family trip? Wow! You will have some magical and unforgettable moments together! Are you planning your vacation by car, train
When should I get my baby’s ears pierced?

When should I get my baby’s ears pierced?

Marie, my baby Jasmine is three months old, and I am hesitant about piercing her ears. Do you have recommendations you can share? Thanks in
I have a tingling sensation in my breasts before breastfeeding.

I have a tingling sensation in my breasts before breastfeeding.

I don’t know what’s happening, but I often have a tingling sensation in my breasts before breastfeeding, and sometimes between sessions. Why does this happen?
How can I donate my breast milk?

How can I donate my breast milk?

Marie, I would like to donate my breast milk for needy babies. I have tons of milk, and I have an easy time extracting it.

The Potential Effects of Cannabis during Pregnancy

Par Marie Fortier Temps de lecture: 1 min
0