By: Janelle Johngrass, CHC – Founder of Know Mommy  A lot of women have questions about cannabis use in pregnancy. I thought sitting down and speaking with a professional midwife would be beneficial to hear her experience and view on the subject. Janelle Johngrass: Could you please tell the readers who you are and what […]

 In Opinion

 By: Janelle Johngrass, CHC – Founder of Know Mommy 

A lot of women have questions about cannabis use in pregnancy. I thought sitting down and speaking with a professional midwife would be beneficial to hear her experience and view on the subject.

Janelle Johngrass: Could you please tell the readers who you are and what you do?

Erica Delmore: I am Erica Delmore I am a midwife here in Las Vegas. I serve Las Vegas, Henderson and the surrounding areas.

Janelle: How long have you been practicing midwifery?

Erica: I have been a midwife in the Valley for about 4 years.

Janelle: What led you to become a midwife?

Erica: Before I was a midwife I was a Doula. There was a birth I attended with a client in the hospital and I was really upset by what I saw. I had been to a couple of home births, I knew what happened at home births. I had just begun my time as an assistant to a midwife in the Valley, and I saw what was possible, and I didn’t like what I was seeing in the hospital. I knew women who were healthy and low risk could have their babies safely at home with someone who is trained to see signs of anything going on. I remember looking to the doctor after the delivery and saying to him, “I can help women do this better at home.” And I talked to the midwife I was assisting about becoming her student and that’s what happened. I became her student and now I am a midwife.

Janelle: You are well versed in women’s health. With cannabis being recreationally legal now a lot more women are wanting to know whether it’s safe to use during pregnancy. How do you feel about cannabis use during pregnancy?

Erica: I have a few clients past, present and I am sure future, who have used cannabis. Not everyone is open to it, it still holds a huge stigma, but I really think it’s time for that stigma to go away. Using cannabis should be like using red raspberry leaf tea. Obviously, not in the same capacity but with that same mindset. I feel women should be able to go get it just like they would any other herb for their needs. I would rather have a Mom come to me using cannabis than a Mom who is using cigarettes.

Janelle: How do you support Mothers who want to use cannabis during their pregnancy?

Erica: I encourage my clients to go to reputable dispensaries and speak to knowledgeable cannabis consultants- not someone who is just trying to sell you a bag of weed. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about finding the right strain for you for what you need. It might be that it has low THC and high CBD or high linalool or myrcene. It depends on what it is that you need. A cannabis consultant who is properly trained will be able to guide you to the best strains for you.

Janelle: What are the main reasons and benefits for a woman to use cannabis during pregnancy?

Erica: The primary reasons women use it are nausea and anxiety. Everyone has heard of morning sickness which usually goes away within 3 months, but there are some women who have hyperemesis gravidarum and that’s torturous because you are sick and nauseous your entire pregnancy. I’ve had clients who have trouble keeping water down. The cannabis helps. It really does. I have other clients who have severe anxiety who were on other medications prior to becoming pregnant that they didn’t want to or couldn’t take while pregnant, so they went in search in other ways to help that anxiety. Cannabis can help that.

Janelle: What are the main concerns for using cannabis during pregnancy?

Erica: Women worry about how much it is impacting the baby and what people will think of them.

Janelle: Considering the lack of data about cannabis impacting a baby in utero what have you witnessed as a midwife with your clients who use cannabis verses your clients who do not? Were there any noticeable differences in the health and wellness of the baby and/or Mother?

Erica: Here’s what I’ve seen and I can only give you anecdotal evidence based on what I have seen, personally. I have had quite a few clients who have used cannabis throughout their pregnancies, typically their babies are smaller for gestational age. I know that is a concern for a lot of physicians. Their placentas are smaller which makes sense since they are growing a smaller baby the placenta doesn’t need to be as big. But here is what is so interesting; those babies typically have 9/10 apgar scores when they are born. Those babies typically latch very quickly and those babies tend to thrive. I also have to say my cannabis smokers had less issues during their pregnancies, less issues with fear, less issues with anxiety. Their food journals were way better cause they felt like eating and they felt like eating good healthy food. I feel the women I work with who use cannabis can even be more grounded.

Janelle: Do you feel a certain delivery method is more beneficial over others?

Erica: I am honest with my clients and I would prefer, if they are going to use cannabis, they only use flower and when using flower I would prefer for them to smoke through a water pipe because it does clean out impurities. I also encourage them to do microdoses. Because you don’t know how a certain strain is going to hit you.

Janelle: Do you feel a certain delivery method is more harmful than others?

Erica: Yes, I have some guidelines for my clients. No tinctures, no edibles, no concentrates. There’s no way to manage a dosage because you could eat a square of a chocolate bar that’s supposed to be 10mg but what if you get the square that actually has 35mg and you are not a daily cannabis user that’s going to hit you a whole lot harder than it would someone who does use cannabis on a regular basis. So edibles I am not a fan of. Also, if you are smoking an 1/8th a day and ripping bong rips every 30 minutes I would have a huge issue with that both during prenatal care and postpartum care.

Janelle: Do you feel at any point cannabis is not safe for use during pregnancy? If so, when and why?

Erica: I would probably suggest not smoking during the first trimester because so much developmental stuff is going on. However, that is when nausea tends to hit so I will recommend to microdose very small amounts over the course of the day. I also don’t think it helps in labor. It will not help with the pain. We are supposed to feel what’s going on. I think the women who abuse it are unhappy, they don’t have support with regards to impending birth, their partner is typically not around or not present, there’s not a lot of familial support. I think that’s when it starts to be abused when women feel alone and desperate. But I can’t be everyone’s savior. I will try to “right the ship” if you will but if I can’t I will discharge her care and send them in to a physician.

Janelle: Statistics say that 66% of women that use Cannabis during pregnancy do it privately and secretly. Do you find that to be true with your clients?

Erica: Absolutely, yes. Very few of my clients would admit to using cannabis. And the funny thing is that a lot of them know each other and even hang out. But I’m not going to say anything because that is a HIPAA violation. More women should be honest about it and share their experiences. I say come out of the “green closet”.

Janelle: Anything else you want to add for women who are considering using cannabis during their pregnancies?

Erica: Be honest with your care providers even if you think they are going to get angry. First of all, if you think they are going to get angry, maybe you need to find a new care provider because you should not feel scared of your care provider. Educate yourself. Don’t just listen to what I’ve said, educate yourself. Women have to do what’s right for them and also take into consideration what is going on with their baby. Moms know. They are connected with their babies. They know when something is good and they know when something is wrong, they just know. If you’re a pregnant woman you should be eating well, you should be hydrating, you should be resting, you should be exercising; take a walk, do some yoga. Don’t just be a couch potato watching TV and smoking joints all day.

Janelle: How can women in Las Vegas connect with you?

Erica: They can send me an email at vegasmidwife@gmail.com. They can always call or text me; my phone number is 702-324-3206 or they can shoot me a contact request through my website which is https://www.hbssnv.com/. So anyway anyone wants to contact me is perfectly fine and I would be willing and happy to sit down and chat with them.

Janelle Johngrass of Know Mommy hosts monthly Cannabis in Motherhood meetings. Go to knowmommy.com for more information.

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