Marijuana should be added to list of things to avoid during pregnancy

Lynne Adkins
February 04, 2019 - 4:00 am
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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — There's another thing for women to avoid when pregnant or nursing. 

You know to avoid alcohol and cigarettes while pregnant or nursing. Now, you need to steer clear of marijuana. 

Denise Ellison, program coordinator for Newborn Nursery Services at Abington-Jefferson Health, says it can pose a danger to the baby.

"When you smoke marijuana, the THC lasts in the breast milk for at least six days. Marijuana is fat binding and there's a high concentration of fat in the breast, a high concentration of fat in the brain. So it wants to stay in those areas," Ellison said. 

She says the drug is easily passed from mother to baby before birth at a time when the baby's brain is developing. 

Problems can be noticed years later, as the child can suffer from hyperactivity and cognitive impairment. 

"Children can have issues with hyperactivity, poor cognitive function. Even during the pregnancy, we know that the THC passes through the placenta. It slows the growth of the baby during the pregnancy, there's an incidence of still births, and pre-term births," Ellison added.