Posted on

Cbd oil for anxiety while pregnant

I’m pregnant, and I want to use CBD to ease my stress and discomfort. Is it safe?

It seems so harmless, especially compared to other substances, and I’m sure it could help me through some of the discomfort and stress I’m bound to experience in pregnancy. Then again, maybe I’ll be more stressed taking something we still don’t know that much about. What do you think?

— Leah, Denver

Your question is quite timely: CBD is increasingly popular, and as cannabis is increasingly legalized, it may seem more harmless than other marijuana components on the market.

THC, another marijuana compound, gives you a high, which CBD does not. But both have been shown to improve anxiety, ease nausea, and dull pain — appealing claims, especially if you’re pregnant.

In terms of birth outcomes, there is some evidence that THC is linked to preterm birth and developmental problems. CBD is not, though it hasn’t been studied enough to know if there may be negative birth outcomes.

The Food and Drug Administration “strongly advises” against any form of marijuana use in pregnancy, and that includes CBD.

My stance is a little more sympathetic to your experience. After all, the FDA has to make blanket recommendations for public health, not individualized guidance. And while CBD may be risky in pregnancy, in some cases, those risks may by outweighed by the benefits.

Expert guidance is to avoid CBD use in pregnancy

The FDA points to animal research showing high doses of CBD in pregnancy leads to reproductive system problems in male fetuses. Other research that followed offspring of mice given CBD found the females had “thousands of changes in their gene expression” and worsened anxiety in adulthood. There’s also evidence CBD can be passed to babies via breast milk, the FDA says, though it’s unclear how that could affect them.

From my view, the FDA’s most compelling concern is that the poorly regulated CBD industry leaves a lot of room for error. Your CBD could contain more or less of the compound than what’s on the label, and be contaminated with THC, pesticides, or heavy metals. Like other supplements, it can also interact with other medications.

Consider the tradeoff

There is decent human research showing support for CBD when it comes to pain relief, depression , and anxiety in non-pregnant people. It could also help with nausea, so it’s no wonder that it may be appealing in pregnancy.

Knowing what you know about what the research can and can’t tell us, consider the tradeoffs. Will you be driven to drink or smoke tobacco if you don’t have CBD? Will you experience debilitating stress, nausea, and sleeplessness?

As Lynn Paltrow, a lawyer who serves as president of the National Advocates for Pregnant Women, previously told me, marijuana studies can’t control for “the stress that would have occurred had it not been for [the substance].”

Find a doctor who is open to speaking about CBD, and try alternative methods

The good news is you don’t have to make one decision and stick with it. How about trying to stop the CBD and seeing how you feel?

See also  Best pure cbd oil for anxiety

Dr. Nicole Rankins, a Virginia OB-GYN who specializes in helping women feel calm and empowered during pregnancy and birth, suggested other methods for stress and pain that we know are healthy for pregnant people: Yes, meditation and exercise, but also things like physical therapy, talk therapy, and even some prescription medications.

If alternative options aren’t cutting it, talk to your provider (or find another one who’s open to CBD use) about how to incorporate the compound as safely as possible.

“Every person can make choices for themselves about what they do, they just need to have the information,” Rankins said. “It hasn’t been thoroughly studied in pregnancy, it’s not regulated the same way [as medications] to look for things like contaminants, so know that you may be exposing your baby to things that you don’t know about.”

Senior health reporter Anna Medaris Miller is here to answer all of your questions about pregnancy— especially the ones you don’t want to bring to your doctor or even friends. As a journalist covering women’s health for more than a decade, she’ll mine the research, consult a range of experts, and give you the key takeaways. Submit your question anonymously to Anna here.

Can I Use CBD While Pregnant?

Elisa is a well-known parenting writer who is passionate about providing research-based content to help parents make the best decisions for their families. She has written for well-known sites including POPSUGAR Family and Scary Mommy, among others.

Verywell Family articles are reviewed by board-certified physicians and family healthcare professionals. Medical Reviewers confirm the content is thorough and accurate, reflecting the latest evidence-based research. Content is reviewed before publication and upon substantial updates. Learn more.

Andrea Chisolm, MD, is a board-certified OB/GYN who has taught at both Tufts University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School. She has over 20 years of clinical experience and is currently is in practice at Cody Regional Health in Cody, Wyoming.

ronstik / Getty Images

Pregnancy comes with a slew of unpleasant side effects, like extreme nausea or persistent backaches, but many common medications are no longer safe once you have a baby on the way. If you’re on the hunt for something natural to cure your morning sickness, a strained lower back, or even pregnancy-related anxiety, you may start to wonder about CBD.

As wonderful as this substance may seem, it is not safe to use during pregnancy. Although there isn’t enough research yet to say for sure what could go wrong, there are a few potential concerns to know about. And until we know more, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid CBD while pregnant.

What is CBD?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a component of the cannabis plant. CBD has many therapeutic benefits, such as helping to alleviate chronic pain, anxiety, and depression, insomnia, and nausea and vomiting. There are a few choices for how to take CBD, including topicals, gum, sublingual drops, and gel caps.

See also  Best cbd oil for high cholesterol

CBD won’t make you stoned, though. Unlike Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), another well-known component of the cannabis plant, CBD does not intoxicate. Many people prefer to use CBD because it gives them the benefits of cannabis without the associated “high.” In general, you can get CBD anywhere in the country, since it’s federally legal.

Is It Safe to Use CBD During Pregnancy?

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) says it “strongly advises against” taking CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding. You should avoid CBD during pregnancy, largely because its effects on a developing fetus are simply unknown. We do know that THC can enter a developing baby’s brain, so there is reason to believe CBD may be able to as well.

“There is the potential risk that [CBD] could affect embryo implantation and promote miscarriages,” cautions Felice Gersh, MD, a California-based OB/GYN and award-winning author of two books on fertility and polycystic ovarian syndrome.

The FDA is still collecting data on the exact risks of taking CBD during pregnancy, but until we hear any different, you should not consider CBD as a safe option when you are expecting.

Every pregnancy is different. Be sure to consult with a healthcare provider about your circumstances if you have any questions about taking CBD while pregnant.

What If I Use CBD Before Realizing I’m Pregnant?

If you regularly use CBD, or you just happened to try it out before you got that positive pregnancy test, don’t panic. According to Marco Mouanness, MD, an OB/GYN and fertility expert at the Rejuvenating Fertility Center in New York City, you are probably fine. Along with discontinuing your CBD use, he advises reaching out to your OB/GYN so they can monitor you as necessary.

Since we really don’t know enough about CBD’s effects on pregnancy and a developing fetus, we have to rely on what we know about THC, since they are both cannabis components. Animal studies show a connection between THC and early miscarriage, but Dr. Mouanness points out that if you get a positive pregnancy test, you haven’t miscarried. As long as you stop using CBD right away, the earlier CBD use won’t cause miscarriage.

In some cases, your OB/GYN may prescribe progesterone to offset any potential miscarriage risk, notes Dr. Gersh. “Taking supplemental progesterone may provide some protection from the effects of CBD exposure early in pregnancy. [as it] sometimes helps prevent miscarriage.”

Safety Precautions

CBD is not safe to take during pregnancy. There are a few potential risks to know about.

Potential Risk of Miscarriage

Animal studies have found a link between CBD use and early miscarriage. While animal studies do not directly translate to humans, you may want to stop taking CBD as a precaution if you are actively trying to conceive.

Potential Reproductive Harm

Another animal study linked CBD use in pregnancy with lower sperm production in male offspring. So, if you give birth to a boy, there could be a risk to his future reproductive health. Again, results from animal studies do not always carry over to humans. However, it is best to play it safe.

See also  Cbd oil for dogs with lupus

Worsening of Pregnancy-Related Side Effects

Many people like CBD because of its minimal side effects. However, some people experience tiredness or diarrhea when using CBD. These side effects could negatively affect your pregnancy. No one wants to be even more tired than pregnancy already makes a person, and diarrhea may lead to dehydration—a dangerous state when pregnant.

When Can I Resume Using CBD?

If you choose to breastfeed your baby, you should continue to hold off on CBD use. “CBD. will cross into the breast milk and go to the baby,” warns Dr. Gersh.

There is some evidence that CBD in breastmilk may negatively affect infant motor development. And since it stays in your milk for a while, this isn’t something you can “pump and dump.” “Some studies have shown that CBD oil derivatives can be found in breastmilk for up to six days after use,” Dr. Mouanness points out.

Once you have fully weaned your baby from the breast, it is safe to start using CBD again. At this point, there is no longer any risk to your child. There are pros and cons to taking CBD, but those are up to you to discuss with a doctor once you’re no longer sustaining your child with your body.

Pregnancy Safe Alternatives

If you are seeking relief from certain pregnancy symptoms, there are a few natural remedies that may help.


Ginger is an ancient remedy proven to help with nausea and vomiting. Dr. Gersh notes that you can consume ginger in any of its forms, including candied, pickled, or as a tea, to get the positive effects.


If you can’t get the sleep you need, magnesium, an essential vitamin, may help. Magnesium has a calming effect when taken regularly, which, along with promoting good sleep, may help combat anxiety and depression. Taking a magnesium supplement blocks pain receptors, so it may also decrease headaches and other aches and pains.

Vitamin B

Dr. Mouanness notes that vitamin B can significantly reduce pregnancy-induced nausea. However, he also points out that you should not take any more vitamin B than the amount already included in your prenatal vitamins unless directed to by a doctor, since we don’t know enough about its effects on a developing fetus.

Be sure to consult with a healthcare provide before starting any new supplements or medications.

A Word From Verywell

CBD has many benefits, but the possible risks to a developing fetus make it unsafe to use during pregnancy. Miscarriage and effects on future fertility or infant motor development are possibly related to its use, and until we learn more, the risk is not worth it.

That doesn’t mean you have to suffer through uncomfortable or unbearable pregnancy side effects, though. Don’t hesitate to reach out to an OB/GYN, midwife, or healthcare provider for ideas on how to safely treat your symptoms.