Teratology Society Backs ACOG,
Discourages Marijuana Use During Pregnancy
Reston, VA – The Teratology Society, the world’s premier society for birth defects research, prevention and education, is issuing a statement in support of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists’ (ACOG) recent recommendation to avoid all marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
“We commend the ACOG for raising awareness of the potential risks of marijuana use during pregnancy, and the need for further research into effects on the developing fetus,” said Tacey White, PhD, Teratology Society President. “As reported in the ACOG position paper, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can cross the placenta and may be present in breast milk. Natural cannabinoids play a role in normal development of the fetal brain and a growing number of animal and human studies suggest that marijuana use during pregnancy could affect normal brain development and function. Marijuana smoke also contains many of the same carcinogenic toxins as tobacco smoke, which has well-documented negative effects on a woman’s baby, such as prematurity, low birth weight and stillbirth. However, studying effects of marijuana use in pregnancy can be confounded by socioeconomic factors, which can make causality difficult to prove. Because of these factors, our society of leading researchers in the field of teratology would like to publicly endorse ACOG’s recommendation to avoid marijuana use during pregnancy and breastfeeding, and to add our voice to the call for more research in this important field.”
The Teratology Society’s endorsement of ACOG’s recommendation comes on the heels of several states, including Washington, Oregon, Colorado, Alaska, as well as Washington D.C., legalizing the use of marijuana for both medicinal and personal use. With legalization, many leading health advocates have predicted the number of women using marijuana during pregnancy will increase and, as a result, increase the likelihood of neurodevelopmental problems for their offspring.
To read ACOG’s full statement as well as studies supporting its recommendation, please click here. Additionally, our sister society, MotherToBaby, a service of the Organization of Teratology Information Specialists (OTIS), has a fact sheet designed for the general public on marijuana use in pregnancy here.