Pregnancy and Medical Marijuana: Can Pot Help Pregnant Women With Vomiting and Nausea?

20080427-wor_11http://images.alternet.org/images/managed/blogteaser_pregnantbelly.jpg_310x220(Source: Alternet)  Stumble upon any number of online communities for pregnant women and you can’t help but find women, mostly in their first trimester, spilling their guts (figuratively) about the fact that they’re spilling their guts regularly and feel as if they want to die daily from the nausea, inability to keep down food or drinks and the constant vomiting.

According to the Mayo Clinic’s Mary Murry, anywhere between 50 to 90 percent of pregnant women experience some nausea – to varying degrees. For most women, the nausea peaks, says Murry, around nine weeks and ends by about the 18th or 19th week of pregnancy. For five percent of unlucky women, however, it persists until the bitter end. It’s hardly surprising. If you’ve been pregnant or know someone who has, it’s likely that the saccharine sweet euphemism “morning sickness” doesn’t do justice to what you or your friends have felt. For some pregnant women, the nausea passes quickly and easily. For others it becomes a daily – or even hourly – battle between ones’ body and ones’ intellectual understanding that if one doesn’t consume a crumb of food at some point one will slowly starve or starve ones’ poor, growing embryo or fetus. This condition is calledhyperemesis gravidarum and the constant vomiting and nausea lead to extreme weight loss and even malnutrition for the woman. It’s dangerous.

If there’s one theorem I can prove, however, it’s this: for every pregnant woman in the world whose experienced any symptom or discomfort under the sun, there a million different suggestions for treatment. But what happens when one of those suggestions is the use of an illegal substance?

When it comes to nausea and vomiting, women experiment to be sure: from prescription medication to concoctions of ginger tea and herbs to acupressure wristbands and more. When you’re experiencing what one pregnant woman posting on the Mayo Clinic’s pregnancy blog experienced, you’re willing to try almost anything.

(Editor’s Note: The following comment was just submitted to another article in this site: “Ganga Babies, more suppressed marijuana research

“There is a silver streak of truth here because my now pregnant fiance’ has had horrible ” morning sickness and although she has a prescription for an anti nausea drug from a doctor only her relaxed use of ganja helps her in all areas regarding sickness, no more horrible dehydration and vomiting, aches and pains are lessened, and just more pleasant to be around, so, what’s wrong with western medicine to finally admit that theca is a help to mankind and does not hurt …. her mother smoked and my fiance has always been a straight A student in AP classes and her daughter from a prior marriage surpassed all millstones of development, bypassing other children her age..”

I’m 13 weeks into this and haven’t had a day of peace in over 7 weeks (it was 7 weeks this past Thursday, yes, I’m keeping count). I’ve been nauseated and throwing up to the point of going in for weekly IVs for 5 weeks now. I couldn’t wait to get pregnant and now that I am, I’m miserable and wonder how some women manage to have baby after baby! My poor husband has already succumbed to the idea that this might truly be our only child. My family and friends miss the old me; I miss the old me! The doctors and nurses keep telling me this stage will end soon, but these days seem never-ending. I wake up and dry-heave, I eat and throw it up, then I dry-heave some more and the cycle continues through my work day, and all the way until I get to bed.

Just what does “anything” look like though?

For many women, it looks suspiciously like pot. Marijuana. Cannabis. Because it is.

As one woman commented on the web site Momlogic.com, on a blog post about pregnancy,

During my first pregnancy, I was hospitalized repeatedly for dehydration due to severe hyperemesis,” wrote Holly. “Zofran didn’t work. I was so sick that I told my husband it was a good thing we didn’t own a gun — and at that point, I wasn’t kidding …. Did I eventually break down and try marijuana? You bet. Did it work? Yes. Do I feel guilty about it? Not a single bit.

The drug to which she refers, Zofran, is a prescription drug recommended by some OB-GYNs and midwives to treat nausea in pregnant women. It was originally created for use by chemotherapy patients who suffer from extreme nausea and vomiting especially evident in the aforementioned hyperemesis gravidarum condition. It’s true that Zofran works for some women; and, like with Holly, not at all for others. Some women question the safety of the medication, as well. Phenergan is another prescription medication to treat nausea and vomiting. These medications, however, are far from fail safe. Many women find themselves continuing to battle extreme deyhydration and malnutrition and are desperate for relief - even if that relief comes in the form of an illegal drug. Erin Hildebrandt chronicled her experience with life-threatening vomiting and nausea in her five pregnancies inMothering magazine and the remedy which finally “saved her,”

“…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…

“In my second pregnancy…Ten weeks after my first dose [of marijuana[, I had gained 17 pounds over my pre-pregnant weight. I gave beautiful and joyous birth to a 9 pound, 2 ounce baby boy in the bed in which he’d been conceived. I know that using marijuana saved us both from many of the terrible dangers associated with malnutrition in pregnancy.”

Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug, by women of childbearing age in the United States, and it deserves more than a “talk to the hand” from health care providers, legal experts and advocates. It warrants what Lynn Paltrow of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women (NAPW) calls an “actual adult conversation” about the way pregnant women use marijuana for medicinal purposes – and the political and legal systems’ move to prosecute pregnant women who may have used marijuana to quell nausea or treat extreme medical conditions.

The use of marijuana – or cannabis – to treat medical conditions is nothing new. Cannabis has been used for thousands of years for medicinal, spiritual and recreational purposes. In 2008, cannabis was found stashed in the tomb of a Chinese shaman from 2700 years ago. Experts hypothesized that it may have been used for medicinal purposes – possibly for pain relief.

Cannabis has also been used throughout ancient history to specifically treat women’s reproductive health conditions – from menstrual cramps to the pain of childbirth. In the book Women and Cannabis: Women, Science and Sociology by Drs. Ethan Russo and Melanie Dreher the authors write:

“Cannabis has an ancient tradition of usage as a medicine in obstetrics and gyecology…but will surprise most by its depth of usage.” The authors cite, as one example, the Ancient Egyptian mixture of hemp seeds with agents found in beer, to ease the pain of a “difficult chilbirth.”

In this day and age, however, marijuana carries with it a heavy reputation. It is, of course, illegal. After more than a century of state and legislative attention to the drug, including a governmental propaganda campaign in the early part of the twentieth century (“Reefer Madness” anyone?), marijuana is placed on par with all other illegal drugs including crack, cocaine and heroine. In the 1980s, thanks to then-President Ronald Reagan, unprecedented criminal penalties for possession and dealing of marijuana were instituted and the “three srtrikes you’re out” policy has given rise to an exponential increase in the number of Americans who have been arrested for possession of marijuana. Since then, however, a growing medical marijuana movement has emerged, successfully passing laws which legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, to varying degrees, in 15 states so far.

We’ve arrived at point in time where the intersection of strident – and extremely ineffective – drug policy has combined forces, however informally, with an equally strident anti-choice movement which has slowly helped to pass laws which criminalize pregnant women’s behavior based on ideology and flimsy medical evidence. In Texas, the “Prenatal Protection Act” considers an embryo or fetus an “unborn child from conception to birth” for the purposes of murder or aggravated assault against a pregnant woman. It means an attacker can be considered for two crimes: one against the pregnant woman and one against her embryo or fetus. But pair that with drug laws like Texas’ “Delivery of a Controlled Substance to a Minor,” for example, and you have the perfect marriage of propaganda and control.

Alma Baker delivered twins in 2004 and tested positive for marijuana. She admitted that she smoked marijuana to treat nauseau and increase her appetite during her pregnancy. Despite the fact that her children were healthy and developmentally advanced, the Texas D.A. in the county in which Baker lived brought charges against her based on both laws. Baker was placed on probation and fined. Her lawyer had this to say of Baker’s felony prosecution:

“This is an end around Roe v. Wade,” he says, “and not a subtle one. By extension, where will we go with this? How about charging obese women or women who smoke with Child Endangerment?”

But, notes Lynn Paltrow, executive director for the National Assocation for Pregnant Women, the more urgent matter may be that these sorts of laws actually discourage pregnant women from seeking care. Alma Baker was clear:

“If I would have known that I’d get in trouble for telling my doctor the truth I would have either lied or not gone to the doctor,” she says.

Most major medical groups including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,  the American Medical Association – and an increasing number of experts –  agree with Paltrow. Paltrow’s work over many years, providing extensive, evidence based legal arguments against the prosecution of pregnant women for drug use, is consistently solidified by medical expert evidence and testimony on the effects of prosecuting pregnant women for prenatal marijuana use. But what about medical evidence on the actual, physiological effects of prenatal marijuana exposure on babies?

That’s the problem. There isn’t much of it.

The medical evidence is sparse given testing and trials involving pregnant women and illegal drug use are not exactly easy to undertake. So organizations and providers obviously tend towards relying on a more consersative framework when discussing which drugs and medications pregnant women can safely use. They also rely on information which seems to lump together women who abuse drugs, with women who may be using marijuana for truly medicinal purposes. Even the March of Dimes web site cannot help but use the limited research on prenatal exposure to marijuana to craft a rather vague informational section on marijuana use during pregnancy:

Some studies suggest that use of marijuana during pregnancy may slow fetal growth and slightly decrease the length of pregnancy (possibly increasing the risk of premature birth). These effects are seen mainly in women who use marijuana regularly (six or more times a week).

In one of the larger studies on prenatal marijuana exposure, published in the journal Pediatrics in 1994, Melanie Dreher, PhD, along with two of her colleagues, undertook an ethnographic study in Jamaica. The research focused on neonatal outcomes from the mothers’ marijuana use during pregnancy. Results did not show any differences, at 3 days old and at one month old, between newborns exposed to marijuana in utero and those who hadn’t been exposed. Why, Jamaica? From the report,

With regard to the research context, it should be noted that virtually all the studies of prenatal exposure have been conducted in the United States and Canada where marijuana use is primarily recreational. This is in marked contrast to other societies, such as Jamaica, where scientific reports have documented the cultural integration of marijuana and its ritual and medicinal as well as recreational functions. [n14,n15] Previous studies have had difficulty controlling possible confounding effects of factors such as polydrug use, antenatal care, mothers’ nutritional status, maternal age, SES and social support, as well as the effects of different caretaking environments, which could lead to differences inneonate behavior. The legal and social sanctions associated with illicit drug use often compromise self-report data and render it almost impossible to obtain accurate prenatal exposure levels. [emphasis added]

In a study carried out in Canada, “Survey of Medicinal Cannabis Use Among Childbearing Women,” researchers looked specifically at how 84 women who used marijuana during pregnancy to treat nausea, vomiting and hyperemesis gravidarum rated the effectiveness of “cannabis therapy.” The women were recruited through “compassion societies” – where they receive medical marijuana. The authors found that almost all of the women–92 percent–found cannabis to be “extremely effective” or “effective” for treating nausea and vomiting; and suggested that the use of marijuana to treat “severe nausea and vomiting” certainly warranted further investigation.

The evidence may be minimal but some physicians and midwives are suggesting marijuana use for extreme vomiting and nausea during pregnancy – regardless of the state of criminalization. One midwife I spoke with, who preferred that I do not use her name, told me:

“I do encourage moms to use marijuana in moderation and only as needed for extreme nausea and vomiting in early pregnancy. I also tell them that marijuana has an estrogenic effect and that overuse could theoretically disrupt early pregnancy hormones and place someone at risk for miscarriage, but it’s not likely.”

On Momlogic.com, women share stories of their physicians suggesting marijuana use as well. Writing of her horrific experience with vomiting and nausea during pregnancy, Jessica Katz wrote:

Even though I am taking Zofran again, I am deathly ill. Now, I know that while you’re pregnant you are supposed to limit caffeine, stop eating sushi and nitrates and not even touch Excedrin. So you can imagine my surprise when my doctor suggested marijuana as a treatment for morning sickness. I was floored. I am pretty sure that you are not supposed to do drugs in general, let alone when you are carrying a child. Don’t they take your kids away from you if you do drugs while you are pregnant?

I went home and Googled this remedy. Could it be real? I found page after page of moms saying they’d used medical marijuana to treat their severe morning sickness, and that it had worked.

Other pregnant women on the site rushed to tell her she wasn’t alone:

“If I [hadn't smoked] marijuana when I was pregnant with my second child, I would have never eaten,” wrote Anonymous. “The smell [and] taste of food made me so sick I couldn’t stand it. I didn’t do much — just a small hit, and then I was fine. If [your doctor] said it will help, believe him.”

On Babycenter,com, when one of their “pregnancy experts” dared to suggest that marijuana use during pregnancy, was shown to be unsafe through studies, and equated it with smoking tobacco, currently and formerly pregnant women rose up, to dispute his claims:

I SUFFERED FROM THROWING UP, NOT BEING ABLE TO DIGEST ANY FOOD AND EVERYTHING ELSE ASSOCIATED W/ MORNING SICKNESS & THE ONLY THING THAT RELIEVED ME FROM IT WAS IF I SMOKED A LITTLE WEED.

I am a toxicologist, and nothing saddens me more than patronizing “professionals” like Mr. Briggs who present unsubstantiated speculations as facts. It is far too easy in this society to scare women with such misinformation…

My message to the Mr. Briggs of the world is to stop patronizing women and admit that it is HIGHLY likely given the generations of people born to women who smoked marijuana (or had a couple beers for pete’s sake!) during pregnancy, that this is not a ‘drug’ worth demonizing.

But when pregnant women do resort to utilizing cannabis to treat extreme vomiting, appetite problems and malnutrition, they may be placing themselves in danger – not only in terms of the criminalization of possession in states where medical marijuana is not legal. They are leaving themselves open to being drug tested after their baby is born and then potentially prosecuted for child abuse and neglect. It’s the “Alma Baker’ scenario mentioned above. Says the midwife with whom I spoke:

“I counsel women that if there is a hospital transfer and the hospital conducts a drug test that shecould be placing herself and her baby at risk of some unwanted intervention.”

In states where medical marijuana laws apply, pregnant women are allowed to use marijuana to treat pregnancy related symptoms. Sabrina Fendrick of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) Women’s Alliance told RH Reality Check that just because a pregnant woman is allowed to access marijuana for medicinal purposes in those states where it’s legal, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she’ll be automatically protected when it comes to drug testing, however. And in those states where marijuana use is illegal, Fendrick says she receives emails “at least once a week” from mothers who are in danger of losing their children after having tested positive for marijuana use after giving birth.

In South Carolina in 2009, a mother who had used marijuana during pregnancy was prosecuted for child abuse and no less than three medical experts came to her defense to decry the lack of any evidence of physiological, emotional or mental effects from the marijuana use. Dr. Deborah Frank, Harvard educated, Board certified in Pediatrics, and a Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University’s School of Medicine not only found no evidence of abuse but said the child “appeared to be doing very well” and was developing in a positive way. Dr. Peter Fried, a PhD in Psychology and a retired Professor from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada has done extensive research on prenatal exposure to marijuana. Though he’s found some potentially negative effects, in this case, he stated clearly that “to characterize an infant born to a woman who used marijuana during pregnancy as ‘physically abused” and/or neglected is contrary to all scientific evidence. The use of marihuana during pregnancy has not been shown by any objective research to result in abuse or neglect.”

This isn’t a question of whether or not marijuana can be used as a medicinal for particular, chronic, extreme conditions during pregnancy. Pregnant woman around the world are already doing what they need to – to keep themselves happy and to keep their fetuses growing and healthy. Physicians and and midwives recognize the medicinal properties and prescribe the use of marijuana in certain cases as well. Citizens are fighting to pass laws which do the same. Reproductive justice advocates may be understandably nervous about a potential alliance with advocates who work on drug policy issues. Considering anti-choice politics make it next to impossible to engage in an evidence-based discussion on the risks vs. benefits of medicinal marijuana in pregnancy, it’s extraordinarly difficult to have the “adult conversation” advocates like Lynn Paltrow work so hard to sustain. Laws that serve only to control the lives of pregnant and parenting women, at the expense of both women’s and children’s health and safety, are born from anti-choice legislators and advocates. In the now, we have pregnant women in this country that are either forced to turn to illegal drugs in order to experience relief from, at times, a life-threatening condition or find themselves embroiled in a legal system which seems to prioritize laws in the abstract over what’s truly in the best interest of mother and child.

See Also: Marijuana / Cannabis use in pregnancy – Dr. Melanie Dreher

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32 thoughts on “Pregnancy and Medical Marijuana: Can Pot Help Pregnant Women With Vomiting and Nausea?

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  2. This is an excellent post. I had severe hyperemesis gravidarum for my entire pregnancy and only avoided hospital because I could keep down a little fluid. I don’t know how I managed to carry my baby to term and every day of my pregnancy I worried that she would die from my inability to keep anything down and the strain on my system. I didn’t know about the medicinal use of cannabis but I’ve been researching since, in the hope of having another baby at some point. I agonised over taking cyclizine but it only took the edge off a little and I am furious that nobody ever mentioned herbal cannabis, they were putting my baby at risk of mc. The doctors and midwives must have known, they must have. Surely the risk to the unborn child from the mother’s starvation and dehyration should be taken into consideration where the law is concerned. Herbal cannabis is my only hope as I had hg for the full 42 weeks of my pregnancy, was sick thousands of times (to the point that my teeth have been seriously damaged) and spent most of my pregnancy lying on a bed in a darkened room, trying not to move because that made the constant nausea turn into great rolling room-spinning nausea. People have no idea and I get so angry when I read knee-jerk responses to medical cannabis, knowing that the risk of doing nothing is much greater and that it is much safer than the prescription drugs women are given. Let’s remember that thalidomide was prescribed for this in the past, better to stick with herbal cannabis with a vaporiser. In the UK the drug Sativex has been approved for use in MS. It is a herbal cannabis extract in a spray. I hope I might be able to get that but if I can’t I’ll have to find a source of herbal cannabis and get a vaporiser or I’ll never be able to have another baby. I never thought I’d become a cannabis advocate but the scales have fallen from my eyes and I realise now that my opinions are based on lies told to me by the government and that there is a strong incentive for drug companies to keep cannabis illegal. I also realise that cannabis is much safer than I thought. The laws are wrong and hg women who take herbal cannabis are probably the most loving mothers you’ll ever meet, they are willing to break the law to protect their unborn children from the dangers associated with their starvation and dehydration. I’ve never done anything illegal in my life but herbal cannabis is my only hope for ever being able to have another baby with hg. Please read my blog posts. Your post on Marinol has saved me some work too, I’m re-posting it to my blog.

    • I hope you are able to do the right thingnfor your baby and your health as well. If you have not tried cannabis for nausea before, you might be surprised to know that it only takes one puff to gain relief.

      • Its this pathetic idea that marijuana is a drug, all drugs are bad, and women who do drugs while pregnant are shit.

        My child is brilliant. She’s ahead of her counterparts on every aspect of every test we’ve given her (not that we dish that crap out often). She’s ahead on every developmental milestone for her age. She’s physically perfect. I’m not bragging, because I realize every child is perfect to someone, but you cannot tell me that someday, I’ll realize that she could have tested better on some shady, questionable, standardized test for a public school system, and at that moment, I’ll rue the day I ever burned one while pregnant, because that will be an indication that I’ve mentally retarded my child….with pot.

        I’m going to start chewing out every woman I see consuming pumpkin while pregnant. Why not? I mean if the rest of the world is going to make stuff up off the tops of their heads and then punish others for it, then so can I. I don’t like pumpkins, they creep me out, and I think anyone who eats them while pregnant is irresponsibly pushing the pumpkin on their unborn child. They should be punished. I have no evidence to suggest that pumpkin is indeed harmful, and I’m only basing my opinion of pumpkin in general on a movie I saw about it when I was a kid, but if everyone else can do it, so can I? Logic, schmogic!

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  6. okay mary anne, we all know you obviously have not experienced any of this, & so why you even bother coming onto this website is unreal.

  7. It also helps with SPD. My doctor blew me off about it in the beginning of my third trimester, saying the baby was just sitting on a nerve causing my “discomfort” because she was sitting so low. (She was obviously very high and in fact I was given a Csection later because of it after my water broke because the baby was not progressing downwards and her head was nowhere near my cervix.) I was able to get relief from a chiropractor who told me on my first visit that my hips were so far out of alignment that one of my legs was shortened. Getting them realigned was wonderful but as soon as I was off the table they would begin migrating again so the pain had returned by my next biweekly appointment. At this point I had not smoked in some time because my job performed random, on the spot drug tests. I started smoking very small amounts at bedtime, and that got me through the rest of the pregnancy and allowed me to get some rest, as I had been up in pain for the past month. (bedtime being the most excruciating time for that condition)
    I didn’t smoke during my earlier pregnancies, convinced that it would rob my children of their potential BUT having educated myself more on the subject since then was confident that the only consequences I needed to be concerned about were those enforced by the government. My youngest daughter is still right on track (most of the time advanced) in her developmental milestones and physical growth.

  8. Lower Abdominal Pain During Pregnancy

    http://lowerabdominalpainduringpregnancy.org/

    One of the worst fears of expectant mothers is the threat that their baby might not live. Admittedly, there are some babies that are unborn because the babies weren’t strong enough to hold on to their mother’s wombs. Usually, a sharp pain on the abdomen is a sign that something is wrong with the baby or the whole pregnancy but more studies are being done to clarify this.

  9. I see many pregnant women smoking cigarettes, no shame at all despite some supposed “surgeon joke of a general” warning about blah blah blah harmful cause to unborn fetus etc.

    And yet, not a single f*** is given by The Law.

    Yet draconian prosecutions against women who use MJ to protect the life of themself and unborn child is routinely taking place in 2012!!!!! Holy shoot, when are these old white bastards gonna die out of government and take their nonsense to the grave with them. Prohibition doesn’t work and treating a pregnant woman like a criminal for this is absolutely shameful. Hell, treating anyone who likes to toke and chill like a criminal is nothing short of insanity.

    My GF is pregnant and this is her first that’s made it this far, 6 weeks. She’s been dealing with some terrible nausea and I’ve basically been begging her to smoke and get some relief because I can’t stand to see her suffer!! She normally smokes and is a “1 hit wonder” as I like to say lol. One or two tokes is all she normally does.

    To be a little more supportive, I’ve spent a considerable amount of time browsing through a few abstracts regarding inhibition of 5HT receptor located in the medulla o. via the vagus nerve, which is the site where vomiting mechanism is controlled. So, simply antagonizing the receptor will alleviate nausea and vomiting. There are some studies done in animal models, however finding information such as this provides additional support for the cause.

  10. HELP, HELP HELP ANYBODY.in CLACKAMAS CO, OREGON.. I have a medical prescription for marijuana for chronic pain and nausea…I was hospitalized several times during my pregnancy couldn’t keep anything down and …I delivered my twins a little bit early~they are healthy and thriving…when the babies were two weeks old Clackamas CO., DHS office sent a power hungry burned out social worker to our house WHO CAME INTO OUR HOUSE VERBALLY assaulted us and then when we reacted she left our house made a call had the police surround us and with all the power of god was able to have the baby twins in the hospital, our one year old son in our arms (who has never been out of our home, never to a babysitterI} and our five year old daughter from school claiming they were endangered..the kids grandmother was in the house, had been here a week to celebrate the babies…and she was completely disregarded…it feels like we are in some other country…is the medical prescription card a trap…no doctor or nurse ever mentioned that I was going to have my babies ripped from my arms after they were born…WHAT COUNTRY IS THIS… their first mother’s day on the planet and they are in some strangers house…this DHS WORKER IS NOT ONLY POWER HUNGRY SHE IS CRUEL…she doesn’t have children so she is doesn’t know that a woman would die for her children, and that when she is threatened she will react…Marie Alaniz needs to be evaluated, she needs to be checked…with one phone call she was able to remove 4 children from their happy home and create complete chaos..how is this possible…she not only has our children we do not know where they are…some may think we are leaving something out…but oh noooooooooo the nightmare is much more than this…anybody out there experience this insanity that can give us hope…it has been two full weeks, we have plenty of family that our children could be with but she has managed to completely control that too so that all the children are in different homes…America… really…

    • This is so sad and I am very very sorry that your children have been taken away. Do you have a lawyer? I wish I could help you in some way.
      About 13 years ago I became pregnant. I was quite young and had severe hyperemesis gravidarum. I was hospitalized 4 times before I was even 8 weeks pregnant. The last time was so severe– I began vomiting copious amounts of watery fluid even though I had not eaten or drank any water for several days. Once at the hospital, I was unconscious for a couple of days, pumped full of drugs, multiple organs had started to fail. When I woke up, doctors told me that I would have to live at the hospital for the rest of the pregnancy because my condition was so bad. This was all terrifying and I felt strongly that there was a high chance that the embryo may have been damaged by all the hospital drugs and my lack of nourishment. So, I had an abortion.
      My next pregnancy, was 10 years later. I had been working on improving my health that whole time, hoping that when I next got pregnant that I would not have hyperemesis. Unfortunately, I was wrong. About 6 weeks in, my husband was away on business and I had been vomiting and dry heaving for 8 hours straight. I finally called an ambulance because I was afraid I was going to choke to death, my throat was so swollen. The paramedics came and wanted to take me to the hospital, but I decided to wait for my husband to come home in another hour. When he did, he brought a tiny bit of pot with him. One puff and I immediately stopped vomiting, drank some water and ate some apple. I was afraid of smoking more and harming the embryo so I did tons of research. The only truly negative things I found were studies that had been done on mothers who were using multiple drugs, alcohol and cigarettes. So still feeling guilty and with the threat of having my baby taken away (a warning given to me by my midwives if I ended up having to have a hospital birth and was still using pot as a medicine in late pregnancy), I continued to use marijuana as a medicine to stave off nausea, allow me to eat, gain weight, and not start horrible endless cycles of vomiting. Even still, I had horrible damage to my teeth from vomiting. I primarily used marijuana in tincture form, putting 2-4 drops in an empty veggie capsule and swallowing it usually twice a day. This was NOT enough to get me high, just the bare minimum to stave off severe nausea. I smoked only a few more times when the nausea got out of control and I couldn’t swallow the pills. My OBGYN said that Zofran had not been determined to be safe for pregnancy or the unborn fetus. I think that the tiniest bit of marijuana used to prevent severe nausea and enable a pregnant woman to eat (which eating strangely combats the nausea), is the safest medicine to use. And I am appalled and embarrassed at the ignorance of social services and the government to take away one’s child for doing so. And my 2 year old child could not be more physically or mentally perfect, bright and happy, extremely intelligent and overall incredible.

  11. marijuana needs to be legalized in texas already because i have HG and it is horrible to try and deal with using only the pills they give me and i dont trust the pills because its a bunch of chemicals that i hate and feel guilty about putting in my body and my babies. i would rather use a herb that doesnt hurt anything than all these pills that could hurt us.

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  14. My dehydration from all all the vomiting I believe was causing my heart palpatations….The Zulfran totally didn’t work…..the use of medical marijuana save my life…I thought I was going to have a heart attack….as soon as I started the use of marijuana for treatment, my nausea ended and so did the terrible scary heart palpatations……reading this article made believe that what I was doing wasn’t so wrong and that there are others out there in the same boat….my life is free of the sickness and I can be happy self again…..

    • yeah i had heart issues too i smoked weed they stopped best thing my doctors prescribed me two medications for that (morning sicknedd) n they never xsent them to all the pharmacys in our town i called for weeks on end everyone n so guess who never went to her doctor visit they want to not send my prescription in then i dont go!!!!

  15. hello! I found this site really helpful n true in so many ways. I smoked pot weed to help with my mornign sickness out my ass!!! omg i was so sick to begin i was from 95 to 100 lbs when i got pregnant i am extremely healthy my husband is a chef so that said i found out i was prego n from then on i couldnt eat of drink ANYTHING AT ALL i would get up from the table RUN to the bathroom n puke!!! my guts out! afraid i was going to push my baby out!!!! so half way thru we had already had plans to get married for anniversary n we kep them me being 6 months pregnant we had a little after party with our friends we never see anymore someone brought a blunt n passed it around me already smokin when i was a teen n nothing bad ever happened i decided to see if it helped so hell yeah i smoked it i dont regret it at all either i was able to eat and not puke actually stayed up that night not havin sex but freakin eating n so thankful i could do so. i gained 25 lbs during pregnancy n when i came back home from wedding they piss tested me n said oh u have weed in ur system guess what bitch it can be in ur system what about those ppl who come in to the hospiotal sayin idk whats wrong with me n end up pushing a baby out n u never knowing lookin atthem cuz their so damn fat how about puttin child prot on their ass for eatin fatty ass foods during prego. but no u take away my rights n put them on my ass n dont answer a single question about how my girls doing n send in a new nurse every 2 seconds n lie to us for 4 days oh did i mention in those 4 days no one asked me how i was doing except my husband. dont u think with a chef i tried every damn thing but when i walked in his works kitchen i ran to the bathroom puking but et weed made me eat and eatn eat i couldve died if i ouked one more time guess what yeah my baby was small but mommy n daddy a small ppl for our ages21n 23 so fuck yeah she was gonna be small i knew that from the beginning but yeah shes perfectly FINE WEED IS PERFECTLY FINE n i put my life on it!!! so if ur pregnant with extreme morning sickness i recommend smokin weed n never going to doctors n then running to hospital seconds before u give birth(wait in car) n then say i didnt know i was pregnant fuck maybe they will put u on that tv show!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FUCK THIS SHITTY MEDICINE THAT ROTS UR LIVER KIDNEYS ETC N SMOKE WEED THAT NEVER HAS KILLED SOMEONE HEY THERES A STUDY ON THAT ACTUALLY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! FUCK HOSPITALS HAVE A HOMEBIRTH!!!!!!! cuz then after u deliver show them the door!! its ur house not theirs!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. My wife couldn’t hold down any food so I smoke some with her and she felt better and was eating. !! !! IM just a country boy from Arkansas. So how can I get more involved in soppurting this. Where the evendice

  17. I have found smoking ganja to treat my morning sickness has given me instant relief. I do however feel utilizing a hemp twine or tooth pick to light the smoking implement helps me not inhale butane, which I like. Also as soon as I feel relief I eat a small snack and take the prenatal vitamin. Otherwise, who knows how long the affects of the ganja will last. Since I have felt regular nausea so far, I try to eat small amounts of food and drink throughout the time I feel well. Ideally I will soon have a vaporizer setup so I can reduce coughing and mucus build up from the smoke inhaled. I would suggest vaporizing to anyone.

  18. Thank you for this article! I suffered from extreme HG during my pregnancy and self medicated with cannabis. Once my son was born we were both drug tested and CPS was called. I wad told by the CPS workers that I was a terrible mother and didn’t deserve my child. They almost didn’t let me take my son home from the hospital. That was 6 years ago and even though they dropped their case against me and let my son come home, I have had so much mental anguish and doubt about if I am a good mother or not. I have been in counseling for anxiety and have even been diagnosed with PTSD symptoms because of the misery of my pregnancy and then the row with CPS. I am now enrolling in Law School for the sole fact that I want to represent mothers who are up against CPS for the same reason. It has became my life’s purpose(other than my son) to help these women who are ssuffering at the hands of an archaic legal system. Thank you for this article. I no longer feel alone and estranged in Mom-dom. My son is perfectly healthy, intelligent and happy. Cannabis did not affect him at all.

  19. I do not know if it’s just me or if perhaps everyone else encountering issues with your
    blog. It looks like some of the text on your content are
    running off the screen. Can someone else please comment and let me know if this is
    happening to them as well? This may be a problem with my web browser because I’ve
    had this happen before. Cheers

  20. This seriously makes tears fall from my eyes. I’m 8 weeks into my 6th pregnancy (2 live, 3 unsuccessful due to hg) and have been hospitalized 3x so far longest stay of 5 days. Haven’t eaten since 5 weeks 3 days and have lost 20 lb. I’m on home infusion 2 liters daily with vitamins, taking 8mg zofran every 6 hours and phenergan also every 6 hours and no relief. I can’t even drink 8oz of vitamin water a day. Im down on how many times I vomit a day to 5, my keytons are at small/15 and I have no energy and am still extremely nauseous. I just took 4 drops of holistic thc drops about an hour ago and I ate my first entire piece of toast in almost three weeks. Do you know how amazing that is? I’m so overwhelmed. I wouldn’t smoke because I don’t want to cut off oxygen to my baby (my thinking no clue if there’s truth& I don’t like smokeing) but I’m ecstatic that I ate something with out the urge to vomit it. I also drank an entire vitamin water. All those medications the drs Have been giving me don’t compare what 4 tiny drops just did. I have faith now. I’m hopeful this will be a successful pregnancy. I’m no longer in fear that on Monday they will tell me I need to be put on tpn. Thc- marijuana needs to be further investigated. Because I shouldnt have been suffering if all it took was 4 tiny drops to accomplish something that major medications couldn’t come close to.

  21. Ok wow. Great post but I take severe issue with you in one area. As a Pro-life, pro-cannabis, midwife you are blaming the wrong group here. It isn’t pro-life groups who are the problem. We have babies removed in WA state for the same thing in one of the most liberal, pro-choice (I do wish you’d not start separating us into camps based on abortion because you’re wrong. I do expect better from those in the medical community. I rarely go to a doctor now even with MS which I use cannabis for). So how is it that we can lose our children here as well for using cannabis in pregnancy for severe vomiting or MS or any valid medical reason? You aren’t seeing the real picture here. It’s because this medicine was criminilaized because it kills cancer and our government lied about it. The same way b-17 was outlawed here as well. I get angry at generalizations. The blame lies with our government AND pharmaceutical companies who lobbied for it on both sides of the political spectrum and won. We need as people who are knowledgable to tell the truth and continue to lobby for change. We are a gullible people who believe what doctors, news anchors and TV tell us instead of using our brains and looking for ourselves. My change came when my son was sent home to die from cancer and his doctor told me about b-17. He’s still alive. Then an immunization nearly killed another one of my children and I learned the hard way that money rules in medicine. Not what’s best, not what’s in patients best interests, not what’s moral. What’s best for profits. Doctors have lost out. Patients have lost out and lost faith in medicine. We need to not divide ourselves and pull political views into this. We need to stand together and fight this together.

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