THC Exposure in Pregnancy Negatively Affects Fetal Development

Published on March 16th, 2020

thc exposure in pregnancy thurswell law michiganThere is not much research about cannabis, THC, and CBD in pregnancy, though use of these substances in pregnancy has always come with recommendations for an overabundance of caution. Now, a new study from researchers at Western University and Queen’s University in Canada has found that regular exposure to THC during pregnancy has a significant impact on the development of the placenta and fetus.

The Dangers of THC in Any Form During Pregnancy

It was only a few generations ago that doctors recommended smoking to expectant mothers to help them relax. They didn’t anticipate any negative effects from such a habit which, of course, we now know is incredibly harmful. The modern version of tobacco use is cannabis and THC, and while it comes in many different forms beyond cigarettes, the result is still the same according to this new study – THC exposure in pregnancy is dangerous to unborn babies.

Negative Effects of THC on Fetal Development

The Canadian study was published in Scientific Reports and used a rat model and human placental cells to demonstrate that maternal exposure to THC in pregnancy has a measurable impact on both the development of the fetus’ organs and the gene expression essential to placental function. In short, regular exposure to THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, can negatively affect a growing fetus in the womb and the baby’s placenta.

The study found that regular exposure to a low dose of THC – intended to mimic daily use of cannabis during pregnancy – led to a reduction in birth weight by 8%. Decreased brain and liver growth was at more than 20%.

“This data supports clinical studies that suggest cannabis use during pregnancy is associated with low birth weight babies,” says the paper’s co-author. “Clinical data is complicated because it is confounded by other factors such as socioeconomic status. This is the first study to definitely support the fact that THC alone has a direct impact on placental and fetal growth.”

THC Can Compromise the Placenta

The placenta is a fetus’s lifeblood in the womb, and the placenta’s strength and vitality throughout the pregnancy is critical. The researchers in the study found that THC exposure in pregnancy prevents oxygen and nutrients from crossing the placenta into the developing fetus. There was a suggestion of reduced blood flow from mother to fetus as well.

Researchers say these factors are very likely contributing to the growth restriction in the rat models’ offspring.

Minimizing THC Exposure in Pregnancy

Marijuana has not been well-studied and its effects on mother and fetus are not well-known. Nevertheless, research has shown that some women use cannabis during pregnancy to prevent morning sickness, for anxiety, or for social reasons. It is the job of obstetricians and other doctors to communicate the real risks associated with cannabis use during pregnancy.

If you feel you received substandard prenatal care, or that your baby suffered a birth injury because of medical malpractice or medication mismanagement, contact the Michigan personal injury attorneys at Thurswell Law to get the compensation you deserve. Schedule a consultation by calling (248) 354-2222 today. We do not charge any fees until we win.

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