SPOKANE, Wash. - Marijuana has been legal in Washington state for several years. More people are using it, including pregnant mothers.
Some pregnant women use marijuana to deal with anxiety or help with morning sickness, but Spokane Regional Health District (SRHD) stressed that just because it's legal, doesn't mean it's safe.
Most of us know that whatever a pregnant woman ingests, their unborn baby ingests.
"So that's food, that's drink, certainly drugs are included in that category," said Kim Papich, Public Information Officer for SRHD.
SRHD said Washington's legalization of marijuana has led to an increase in expectant mothers using the drug.
"We've got our nurses going in and seeing these moms using marijuana during their pregnancies," said Papich.
Research is lacking, but SRHD is clearing the smoke, saying there's no safe amount of marijuana for expectant mothers to use. Whether you're smoking it or ingesting it, your baby could end up with more than a sugar high.
"We already know what some of the concerns are, but I'm sure with more research we're going to see more," said Papich.
A Colorado hospital tested umbilical cords and found nearly half tested positive for traces of THC.
We've heard similar reports from hospitals in Spokane.
One concern, your baby could be born without the front part of its brain, similar to the condition the Zika virus cases.
And, it can affect your baby's growth rate.
"So you can end up having a baby that's too small or born too early," said Papich.
And the risks don't stop there.
"As a child grows, if they were exposed to marijuana in utero, it can result in developmental disabilities," said Papich.
SRHD said children who were exposed to marijuana in the womb have more trouble thinking through problems, completing tasks, and learning in school.
"If you're going to weigh the risks against the benefits, in terms of public health's perspective, there's not a lot of benefits here," said Papich.
SRHD said it's never too late in your pregnancy to quit smoking marijuana, but there is no safe amount to use while pregnant or breastfeeding, as THC is also found in breast milk.
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