The recent legalization of recreational use of marijuana in states such as Washington, Oregon, and Colorado as well as the expanding legality of medical use into many other states has prompted new questions about the safety of marijuana use during pregnancy and the potential effects on the developing child. Midwifery clients in particular are seekers of knowledge and information. Childbearing women want to do what is in the best interest of their developing child and also want to continue to remain in autonomous control of their body and choices. Legalization has brought a greater availability of a wide range of marijuana products and lead to an increasing consumer base. Many women have chosen to use marijuana prior to pregnancy and many more are seeking relief from pregnancy symptoms such as nausea and vomiting. This presentation intends to provide evidence-based information for midwifery educators, midwives and their clients that address the safety and potential concerns of marijuana use during pregnancy. A Curriculum Module was developed for this Master’s Project and is intended to be easily incorporated into midwifery education programs as well as continuing education courses. Information has been presented in a way that is relatable to both the midwife and the midwifery consumer. It should be easily adaptable to any practice population. Ongoing work includes a Client Education Module and distribution mechanism for all aspects of this material. 

Lynette Pettibone, CPM has worked with growing families as a birth doula and childbirth educator since 2001. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Washington. Lynette graduated in 2016 with her Master’s of Science degree in Midwifery from Bastyr University where she began her work on the effects of marijuana use during the childbearing year. . She is currently working at Andaluz Waterbirth Center while planning to open her own birth center in Vancouver, WA

Marijuana Use During Pregnancy, A Toolkit for Midwives

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe a strategy for screening pregnant women for marijuana use and abuse during pregnancy.

  2.   Describe the basic pharmacology of Cannabinoids

  3.   Describe the pharmacokinetic differences in mode of consumption and the potential effects of smoking vs. other methods of marijuana consumption in pregnancy.

  4.  Describe the current evidence for potential risk of marijuana use during pregnancy.

  5. Understand and be able to discuss with a client the potential risks and perceived benefits of marijuana use on pregnancy outcomes and potential impacts on the future development of exposed offspring.