15 May Is CBD Oil safe to use while pregnant?
Face creams, oils, cookies, daily capsules, you name it – CBD is making its way into all kinds of health and wellness products. Praised for improving sleep, reducing inflammation and managing pain, it’s no wonder that pregnant women are looking to harness its natural properties. But is it safe to do so?
A bundle of joy aside, bringing a baby into the world also comes with health and beauty benefits such as thicker hair, glowing skin and even (amazingly) a bigger brain. Unfortunately though, these pregnancy positives aren’t the ones that you need any support with. It’s the continuous cramps, aches, pains, fatigue, restlessness, insomnia, headaches and mood swings (we could keep going) that hamper your wellbeing. Because of this, there’s an internet’s worth of ways to tackle those that affect you on a daily basis through each trimester. And although prenatal yoga, breathing exercises and a healthy diet will go some way to easing any discomfort, women will always continue their search for a more effective, natural solution. Enter CBD.
Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive extract of the cannabis plant that, whether you’ve experienced taking it before pregnancy, or have recently discovered through research or a recommendation, seems to tick all the boxes. This cannabinoid reacts uniquely with our body’s endocannabinoid system – scientifically proven to help regulate a wide range of cognitive and physiological processes, including mood, appetite, sleep, and pain. Because of this, CBD oil sounds tailor-made to help take on whatever pregnancy throws your way, both mentally and physically.
HOW DOES CBD AFFECT PREGNANCY?
During the life-changing, body-altering journey of pregnancy, a healthy lifestyle is paramount. Anything that a woman’s body comes in contact with (injesting in some way) during these 9 months can have a great effect on the child growing inside her. From the do’s of increased vitamins, rest and a balanced diet, to the don’ts of raw fish, certain medications, and alcohol, it can be a minefield – especially for first-time parents-to-be. That’s why a safe, all-natural approach to pain management, anxiety and other difficult moments during pregnancy is not only preferred, but essential for a healthy birth.
CBD is a completely natural, plant-based compound, however, during the extraction process it must undergo filtration to remove tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This is the psychoactive element known to give cannabis smokers their ‘high’. And although technically removed, in many instances, trace amounts of this chemical element remain in the final product sold to customers.
While entirely legal to sell CBD products with 0.03% of THC (as it is very difficult to remove it entirely), these minimal amounts, especially built up over time, could have an adverse effect on your pregnancy – outweighing the positive physiological and psychological effects of CBD for yourself.
A recent study conducted on mice found that THC inhibited the development of the embryos 1, which indicates it could also be harmful to a human baby and their development. THC is also considered by some researchers as a developmental neurotoxin 2, so exposure in the early stages of growth could also potentially lead to issues later in a child’s life.
A valid reason for THC consumption resulting in this potentially serious side effect is the role our endocannabinoid system plays during pregnancy. Through cell regulation and cannabinoid processes, it’s essential in early development of the fetus, as well as helping support the growth of the child throughout pregnancy. 3
As a result, it’s imperative that more research is conducted into how CBD interacts with our internal process during this fundamental stage to absolutely guarantee that there are no negative side effects. However, due to the ethical implications of testing on pregnant women, it’s very unlikely that we will see any evidence to support claims either way any time soon.
YOUR DOCTOR KNOWS BEST
Although CBD could be the all-natural answer to those uncomfortable aches and pains during each trimester, the lack of research around the potential side effects of THC on your baby’s development fails to provide any scientific certaintainty or peace of mind. Some CBD brands do offer products that are third-party lab tested and guarantee 0.0% THC, however we would always recommend speaking with your doctor before taking any form of CBD oil or otherwise during your pregnancy for an effective but, most importantly, safe solution.
Recommended supplements for pregnancy
During pregnancy, it’s essential to provide your body and your growing baby with the necessary nutrients for optimal health. While a well-balanced diet should be the primary source of these nutrients, prenatal vitamins are often recommended to ensure that you meet your increased nutritional needs. Here are some essential vitamins and nutrients that are commonly recommended for pregnant women:
- Vitamin D supports the immune system¹
- Vitamin D also supports supports bone health & maintains normal muscle function and blood calcium levels²,³,⁴
- Convenient everyday supplement
Vitamin D is essential for calcium absorption, bone health, and immune function. Adequate vitamin D levels are crucial for both the mother and the baby.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- Premium Vegan Omega-3
- 60 Capsules
- Natural algae-derived oil with life’s®OMEGA
- Easy-to-take softgels
Omega-3s, especially DHA (docosahexaenoic acid), play a role in brain and eye development in the baby. They can also support the mother’s mood and cognitive function.
- Vitamin C supports the immune system & helps reduce fatigue (1,2)
- Vitamin C also protects cells & maintains normal metabolism (3,4)
- Convenient capsules
Vitamin C supports the immune system and helps absorb iron from plant-based sources.
- Contributes to normal energy-yielding metabolism
- Reduces tiredness and fatigue
- 100% vegan
Vitamin B12 is important for the nervous system and red blood cell production. If you’re following a vegetarian or vegan diet, you might need to pay special attention to B12 intake.
Folic Acid (Folate): Folic acid is crucial for preventing neural tube defects in the baby’s brain and spine. Most prenatal vitamins contain folic acid, and it’s often recommended to start taking it before conception and continue throughout the first trimester.
Calcium: Calcium is essential for the development of the baby’s bones and teeth. It also supports the mother’s bone health. If dietary intake is insufficient, a prenatal vitamin with calcium might be recommended.
Iron: Iron is needed to support the increased blood volume during pregnancy and to prevent anemia in both the mother and the baby. Anemia during pregnancy can lead to complications, so it’s important to ensure adequate iron intake.
Iodine: Iodine is important for thyroid function and brain development in the baby. It’s particularly important for preventing developmental issues.
Vitamin A: Vitamin A is important for vision, immune function, and fetal growth. However, excessive vitamin A intake can be harmful, so it’s important not to exceed recommended doses.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that supports cell protection and immune function.
Supplements to avoid during pregnancy
During pregnancy, some certain vitamins and supplements should be approached with caution or avoided altogether due to potential risks to both the mother and the developing baby. Always consult with your healthcare provider before taking any new supplements during pregnancy. Here are some vitamins and supplements to be cautious about:
1. Vitamin A (Retinol): High doses of vitamin A in retinol can harm the developing fetus and may lead to birth defects. Avoid taking supplements with high amounts of vitamin A, especially retinol.
2. Vitamin E: While vitamin E is generally safe through a balanced diet, high-dose vitamin E supplements are not recommended during pregnancy, as they might increase the risk of bleeding.
3. Vitamin K: Vitamin K supplements are usually unnecessary for pregnant women unless specifically recommended by a healthcare provider. Excessive vitamin K supplementation can interfere with blood-thinning medications.
4. Herbal Supplements: Many herbal supplements lack sufficient safety data during pregnancy. Some herbs can cause contractions, stimulate uterine activity, or interact with medications. It’s best to avoid herbal supplements unless advised by a healthcare professional.
5. Dong Quai: This herb is known to stimulate uterine contractions and should be avoided during pregnancy due to the potential risk of miscarriage.
6. Black Cohosh: This herb can have hormonal effects that might lead to uterine contractions and other potential complications during pregnancy.
7. Saw Palmetto: It is sometimes used for prostate health, but it’s not recommended during pregnancy due to hormonal effects and potential adverse effects on the developing fetus.
8. Ginseng: Ginseng may have stimulant effects and could potentially impact fetal development. It’s best to avoid ginseng supplements during pregnancy.
9. High-Dose Vitamin C: While vitamin C is essential for immune health, excessive doses can lead to diarrhoea and stomach upset. Stick to recommended dietary sources of vitamin C.
10. Excessive Herbal Teas: Some herbal teas are considered safe during pregnancy, but others, like certain teas made from herbs, roots, or leaves, can contain compounds that might not be suitable for pregnant women.
Remember that nutritional needs can vary from person to person and that dietary supplements should never be a substitute for a healthy and balanced diet. If you’re considering taking any supplements during pregnancy, consult with your healthcare provider to ensure they’re safe and appropriate for your specific situation.
2) Volkow ND, Compton WM, Wargo EM. The risks of marijuana use during pregnancy. JAMA. 2017;317(2):129-130.