A recent UNLV study came out that reviewed sonogram data from nearly 450 pregnant women who self-reported daily cannabis use. In this study the physicians found an increase in placental vascular resistance in second and third trimesters, which can disrupt the flow of oxygen-rich blood through the placenta. This can potentially lead to delayed fetal […]
A recent UNLV study came out that reviewed sonogram data from nearly 450 pregnant women who self-reported daily cannabis use. In this study the physicians found an increase in placental vascular resistance in second and third trimesters, which can disrupt the flow of oxygen-rich blood through the placenta. This can potentially lead to delayed fetal growth, which could put a baby at risk for certain health problems like low birth weight and hypoglycemia. They reported marijuana consumption should be avoided in pregnancy.
For many women, this study will bring up a lot of concerns and fears. For me this study brought in a lot of questions like, how were the women consuming cannabis, were the women all eating the same diet, what were their daily stress levels, how were their relationships, what was their medical history prior to getting pregnant, did they use chemicals to clean their home? Due to the fact that the study never stated or addressed any of these factors in regards to the outcome of the fetuses health, I feel the data is inconclusive as we know stress, diet, toxin exposure and lifestyle impact a babies health greatly.
In all of my years of being a cannabis advocate and educator, I have never once seen a woman who consumed cannabis while pregnant (who didn’t use other drugs and lived a healthy and non-toxic life) have a negative experience postnatally with the health of her baby. In fact, I have thousands of testimonies from women stating how much it helped them and how their children are thriving in life.
I am not saying there aren’t concerns and risks and women should go out and consume all the cannabis they want, but I do believe because of the vast difference in what the UNLV study reported verses what I and thousands of women have witnessed and experienced, more research needs to be done.
Since I am a holistic health coach that works with women and not a woman who delivers babies, I wanted to sit back down with Midwife Erica Delmore, DEM, CLC to get her take on the study and see what she had to say in response to the information presented by UNLV.
JANELLE JOHNGRASS: Thank you for taking time to talk with me and share your thoughts. I wanted to know what you think of the UNLV study since you are a Midwife and have clients that use cannabis during pregnancy?
ERICA DELMORE: While I think this study had some validity I think they missed the boat. The last time you interviewed me I clearly stated there is no free lunch and the only thing they keep coming up with is you’re going to have a smaller baby or there is potential for concern. However, your smaller baby is probably just as healthy as that bigger baby. The mother is probably happier, more balanced, more adjusted and feeling good about herself. So as far as the study goes, I get why they did it. They were compelled, they had to. But I believe they also have to make a statement like that because, unfortunately, in our society cannabis is still frowned upon.
JANELLE: Do you feel that the study was controlled enough for them to form a solid opinion?
ERICA: No, absolutely not. Even for the fact that we don’t know how these women were consuming and to what extent they were. Because again, as I stated in our last interview, I’m a big no on edibles, concentrates and tinctures. If a client consumes it should be flower, low THC and preferably through a water piece. I’m pretty strict about this. I would rather my clients consume a small bowl of marijuana when they are nauseous instead of popping Zofran which has its own list of complications associated with it.
JANELLE: Dr. Nora Doyle who was one of the people who ran the study stated that they have other remedies that can be used for nausea, pain, mood, etc. that, in her opinion, are safer. So are those options safer and risk free in comparison to cannabis?
ERICA: I would counter that with what’s the list of ingredients? What’s in it? Take Zofran for instance, there are a lot of things in there that can cause adverse reactions or simply don’t work for every woman. Why do we need to pump a women with chemicals when we know cannabis is great for nausea relief as is ginger, peppermint and chamomile? I prefer women to go to a natural remedy if they can. I fail to understand why these chemical compounds are a better option. Women have to weigh their options and make a choice for themselves. I think more research needs to be done and on a greater scale and over a longer timeframe.
JANELLE: For your clients that have hyperemesis, do you see a difference in clients that go the western medicine route and have to be put on an IV and bedrest to help maintain their nutrient levels and hydration verse those that choose to use cannabis to support those symptoms that can be debilitating with that condition in pregnancy?
ERICA: I see more positive results with the women who use cannabis. Again, it’s not about THC, it’s about the other compounds in the cannabis that aid in nausea. I’ve had clients do the western medicine route and go in and get IVs on a regular basis. But it just seems to me like a constant circle. Almost like they are putting a bandaid on it and not really addressing or helping a woman thrive. Whereas I think if you can get a woman to at least tolerate some food, which is what happens when you consume cannabis, you’re making headway. Hyperemesis is tough and I don’t think that they really understand it. I know a lot of times western doctors just brush it off as extensive morning sickness, but it’s not. I’m not saying all doctors, there are some amazing doctors especially in the Las Vegas Valley who take HG seriously.
JANELLE: I had hyperemesis with 3 of my pregnancies and, for me, it came down to quality of life. Consuming cannabis allowed me to have an appetite. It allowed me to crave food and keep water down. In my last pregnancy, I was so sick and also had other kids, in my mind I couldn’t be going to the hospital sitting there on a regular basis. But I could consume cannabis and feel relief.
ERICA: Yes and then you look at the cost. Everytime you go into the ER to get an IV you’re paying thousands of dollars, which is astonishing to me and is a whole other conversation. For many women, they don’t want to do that, especially when they can go to a reputable dispensary and speak to a knowledgeable and well versed cannabis consultant and get directions to find a strain that will bring relief. You then can go home and have controlled microdosing.
JANELLE: Do you wish more dispensaries had education for their budtenders in regards to information they give their customers for cannabis use in pregnancy?
ERICA: Yes. Yes. Yes!!! Although budtenders can not and should not give medical advice I think they should be educated on the pros and cons and general safety.
JANELLE: You stated in our previous interview as well as today that you do see an impact in the fetal growth in regards to the size of the baby. The study also showed that there can be a decrease in placental blood flow. How does that impact the baby? What are the concerns there?
ERICA: With my clients who do use cannabis I do keep a closer eye on them. I would probably encourage an additional ultrasound later in the pregnancy just to make sure everything is going okay. With anything foreign that you are taking into your body there will be a response. However, according to the World Health Organization study that was done in the late 60’s in Jamaica, yes those children were smaller but they flourished. Their IQs were higher, they were creative, they had great social skills and were successful. It was a very interesting study, and one that women should review.
JANELLE: Does placenta size indicate a healthy baby?
ERICA: I don’t think so. I have seen large placentas that look very unhealthy and small placentas that look great. I think a lot of it has to do with not so much whether the mother consumes cannabis, but whether she is eating well, staying hydrated, whether she has a lot of anxiety, a supportive partner, etc. All of that comes in to play for the health of a placenta. You can look at a placenta and it will tell you so much about the pregnancy. There’s a lot of different factors that go into the health of it.
JANELLE: Do you think that a woman’s nutrient intake and stress levels impact a baby in a negative way and women should be concerned about that versus having fear of a plant that is proven to aid in nausea and pain relief?
ERICA: That’s a really great way to put it, yes. Absolutely. I have had clients who are in stressful relationships and when it’s time for them to give birth the babies don’t want to come out. Have we seen adverse reactions in utero for things that happen outside the uterus? Sure, babies are very tuned in to what’s going on. Again, most western doctors are probably going to read this and say, “She’s full of crap.” But I’m not.
JANELLE: Studies are showing that marijuana use has doubled in the past 15 years and I want to know from your perspective, do you think that that is true or do you think more women are just being open and honest about it?
ERICA: I think that more women are being honest about it. I think it’s a false number. I think women have consumed for generations and generations and now it’s more acceptable to be more vocal about it. When I was pregnant with my first baby and living in San Francisco back in the day, my midwife used to give me cannabis because I suffered from hyperemesis and I couldn’t eat. Cannabis helped me.
JANELLE: The American Academy of Pediatrics says that no amount of marijuana use is safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding. What is your response to that?
ERICA: What else are they going to say? Seriously, what else are they going to say? They have to say that. But I would want to know how many of those pediatricians are consuming themselves.
JANELLE: What would you like to see in terms of studies that are being done? What do you think is important to continue the education and research on cannabis use in pregnancy?
ERICA: I think they need to follow a group of women from the beginning of pregnancy through at least 6-10 years postpartum. Because then you’re really going to find out what if any adverse effects there are.
JANELLE: What would you like to say for closing thoughts for women that are looking at this study and consuming or wish to be consuming and now have a sense of fear around it because of this research?
ERICA: I would say definitely come to Cannabis in Motherhood, the second Tuesday of every month, hosted by Know Mommy at Motherhood Collective because then you can talk to women and midwives who have personal experience in this. Do your own research. And that’s for both sides of the fence. Also, have a care provider that you trust to talk to. If you can’t tell your care provider that you consume or want to consume cannabis that’s a red flag to me. You have to be able to be honest with your care provider. If you can’t be honest then they can’t care for you to the best of their ability.
JANELLE: Being a care provider, you are a Midwife, are you currently taking new clients?
ERICA: Yes I am taking clients. If anyone is interested in booking a consult with me they can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or they can call me directly at 702-324-3206.
**Disclaimer: Information presented in this article is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for advice related to your particular situation. Janelle Johngrass a.k.a. Know Mommy does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information in this article.
Janelle Johngrass, founder of Know Mommy hosts monthly Cannabis in Motherhood meetings. Go to www. knowmommy.com for more information.