Q: How does marijuana affect a baby?

A: Marijuana exposure in utero has both short- and long-term effects on the baby.  Short-term effects include: lowered response to light stimuli, decreased ability to "self soothe," more tremors, more easily startled/scared, and more high-pitched cries.

Long-term effects include both physical and developmental problems.  Physically, children will have smaller head circumferences, which often do not correct as they grow, so they will look physically look different from their peers.  Developmentally, children will have higher rates of increased hyperactivity, impulsivity, and delinquency. Children who had marijuana exposure in the first and second trimesters have been found to possess lower IQ scores than children of the same age who were not exposed.

Most importantly, though, marijuana use in this country is illegal. An immediate report is sent by a delivering facility to either social work and/or Child Protective Services if any pregnant woman and any newborn screens positive for marijuana.

Answered by Dr. Marra Francis