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Medical Marijuana and Morning Sickness - Mothering.com (2004)

Posted by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:55 PM
  • 7 Replies


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Read full article at this link

http://mothering.com/pregnancy-birth/medical-marijuana-a-surprising-solution-to-severe-morning-sickness


Medical Marijuana: A Surprising Solution to Severe Morning Sickness
By Erin Hildebrandt
Issue 124 May/June 2004

As is the case for many young women, my indulgence in recreational drugs, including alcohol and caffeine, came to an abrupt halt when my husband and I discovered we were pregnant with our first child. To say we were ecstatic is an understatement. Doctors had told me we might never conceive, yet here we were, expecting our first miracle. I closely followed my doctor’s recommendations. When I began to experience severe morning sickness, I went to him for help. He ran all of the standard tests, then sent me home with the first of many prescription medicines.

Weeks passed, and, as the nausea and vomiting increased, I began to lose weight. I was diagnosed as having hyperemesis gravidarum, a severe and constant form of morning sickness. I started researching the condition, desperately searching for a solution. I tried wristbands, herbs, yoga, pharmaceuticals, meditation—everything I could think of. Ultimately, after losing 20 pounds in middle pregnancy, and being hospitalized repeatedly for dehydration and migraines, I developed preeclampsia and was told an emergency cesarean was necessary. My dreams of a normal birth were shattered, but our baby boy, though weighing only 4 pounds 14 ounces and jaundiced from the perinatal medications I’d been given, was relatively healthy.

When, six months later, I again found myself pregnant, I was even more determined to have a healthy and enjoyable pregnancy, and sought out the care of the best perinatologist in the area. At first, I was impressed. This doctor assured me he had all the answers, and that, under his expert care, my baby and I would never experience a moment of discomfort. However, as my belly swelled, I grew more and more ill, and my faith in my dream doctor began to falter. What convinced me to change healthcare providers midstream was this doctor’s honesty. He admitted that, due to constraints imposed on him by his malpractice-insurance company, some routine procedures that he knew to be harmful would be required of me. We left his office that day and never went back.

As I searched for a new doctor, I ran across information about midwifery and homebirth. At first, I thought this was simply crazy. Have a baby at home, with no doctor? No way! I thought. But, as I began examining the statistics, I discovered an unexpected pattern. In studies comparing planned home versus hospital births, planned homebirths, with a midwife in attendance, have lower rates of neonatal morbidity and mortality. Not only that, but midwives’ rates of such invasive procedures as amniotomy and episiotomy are much lower. Everything I had believed about birth and medicine suddenly came into question. I located a midwife and made an appointment to see her.

We were very impressed with this woman’s education and experience, and were delighted to invite her into our home to share in our second birth. She gave me many new ideas to try to abate the morning sickness, which still plagued me. But despite her best efforts with herbs, homeopathic remedies, and even chiropractic care, my illness remained intractable.

About this time, I ran into an old, dear friend from college. When Jenny came to visit me one particularly awful day, we shared stories of the old days, and I soon found myself laughing as I hadn’t laughed in years. Despite being interrupted by numerous trips to worship the porcelain god, it felt wonderful to share some time with her. But when we began talking about my burgeoning belly, I broke down in sobs. I told her about how I was desperately afraid of what this malnutrition was doing to my baby. I explained how my midwife had told me that preeclampsia appears to be a nutritional disorder of pregnancy, and I didn’t know how I could avoid it if I couldn’t eat.

Jenny listened and cried with me. Then, she tentatively produced a joint from her jacket pocket. I was shocked. We had shared a lot of these in college, but I had no idea she still smoked. Slowly, she began telling me that she knew some women who smoked marijuana for morning sickness, and it really helped them. She hadn’t known anyone with as severe a form of the illness as I had, but reasoned that if it works to quell the side effects of chemotherapy, it must work well.

Understandably, I was concerned about what kind of effect marijuana might have on my baby. The only information I had ever heard on the subject was that it was a dangerous drug that should not be used in pregnancy. We discussed for some time the possibility that it could be harmful, though neither of us had enough information to make any sort of truly informed decision. What finally convinced me to give it a try was Jenny’s compelling reasoning. “Well, you know that not eating or drinking more than sips of tea and nibbles of crackers is definitely harmful, right? You might as well give this a try and see what happens. You don’t have much to lose.”

She was right. I was 32 weeks along and had already lost 30 pounds. I had experienced four days of vomiting tea, broth, crackers, and toast. Nothing would stay down long. In an excited, giggly, reminiscing mood, I told her to “Fire it up!” I took two puffs of the tangy, piney smoke. As it took effect, I felt my aches and nausea finally leave me. Jenny and I reclined against my old beanbag, and I began sobbing again and unintelligibly thanking her—here was the miracle I had prayed for. A few minutes later, when I calmed down, we ordered a pizza. That was the best pizza I had ever tasted—and I kept down every bite.

It was sad that I had to discover the benefits of this medicine late in my second pregnancy, through trial and error, and not learned of them long before—from my doctors. This experience launched a much safer and more intelligent investigation into the use of cannabis during pregnancy.

I spent hour after hour poring over library books that contained references to medical marijuana and marijuana in pregnancy. Most of what I found was either a reference to the legal or political status of marijuana in medicine, or medical references that simply said that doctors discourage the use of any “recreational drug” during pregnancy. This was before I discovered the Internet, so my resources were limited. The little I could find that described the actual effects on a fetus of a mother’s smoking cannabis claimed that there was little to no detectable effect, but, as this area was relatively unstudied, it would be unethical to call it “safe.” I later discovered that midwives had safely used marijuana in pregnancy and birth for thousands of years. Old doctors’ tales to the contrary, this herb was far safer than any of the pharmaceuticals prescribed for me by my doctors to treat the same condition. I confidently continued my use of marijuana, knowing that, among all options available to me, it was the safest, wisest choice...




Welcoming our 6th baby, 3rd home birth and 1st unassisted birth on 2-10-10.



Excited about...


by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:55 PM
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Replies (1-7):
kcangel63
by Freebirther on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:55 PM

BTW - I found this article interesting. I am very into natural medicines and herbs. This in no way means that I use cannabis, but it does mean that it can be (and is) a helpful natural medicine. The DEA Law Judge (Francis Young) said himself it "is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man". I would much rather use cannabis, than a pharmaceutical drug, though.

Famousglm714
by Gina on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:56 PM

I'm 100% for medical marijuana but I don't think enough research has been done with regards to pregnancy. Better safe than sorry. 

Famousglm714
by Gina on Mar. 2, 2011 at 2:59 PM


Quoting kcangel63:

BTW - I found this article interesting. I am very into natural medicines and herbs. This in no way means that I use cannabis, but it does mean that it can be (and is) a helpful natural medicine. The DEA Law Judge (Francis Young) said himself it "is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man". I would much rather use cannabis, than a pharmaceutical drug, though.

I agree. Pharmaceutical drugs are very scary. Literally every week a new drug is being recalled. Birth control, osteoporosis medication, anti-depressants, acne medication, and now Darveset. 

Yikes!

kcangel63
by Freebirther on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:10 PM


Quoting Famousglm714:


Quoting kcangel63:

BTW - I found this article interesting. I am very into natural medicines and herbs. This in no way means that I use cannabis, but it does mean that it can be (and is) a helpful natural medicine. The DEA Law Judge (Francis Young) said himself it "is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man". I would much rather use cannabis, than a pharmaceutical drug, though.

I agree. Pharmaceutical drugs are very scary. Literally every week a new drug is being recalled. Birth control, osteoporosis medication, anti-depressants, acne medication, and now Darveset. 

Yikes!

True.  Very scary. 

I have a friend who's doctor let her go outside the hospital to smoke a joint while in labour to ease the pain.  She told him right off during her pregnancy that she was smoking for morning sickness, and he said it was fine.

Welcoming our 6th baby, 3rd home birth and 1st unassisted birth on 2-10-10.



Excited about...


michaelabitner
by on Mar. 2, 2011 at 3:15 PM

i don't think that just any pregnant women should smoke marajuana but in cases like this...i would never shun her. there are some stupides in other countries showing no negative side effects durign pregnancy and breastfeeding and when losing so much weight i think the risk of marajuana is far less severe than the risk of the pharacuticals that they perscribe for it. not to mention being able to eat and keep food down is better than losing 30lbs while pregnant. i think that there should be more studies done on it but until it's legal...that will never happen.

kcangel63
by Freebirther on Mar. 6, 2011 at 3:20 PM

According to a study done on Jamaican women, the babies tested better than those who didn't use cannabis during their pregnancies.

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/medical/can-babies.htm

You'd be hard pressed to find a safer substance than cannabis. It's non-toxic, non-addictive, and according to some studies, very beneficial.

imuney
by on Mar. 6, 2011 at 3:26 PM

 I agree and as some1 who has had hypernemesis 2x I would light one up in a heartbeat if it there was more to back it medically. I thought hypernemesis was going to kill me. Seriously.

Quoting Famousglm714:

I'm 100% for medical marijuana but I don't think enough research has been done with regards to pregnancy. Better safe than sorry. 

 

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