What is the Procedure if you Test Positive for Marijuana When the Baby is Born?

Published: February 01, 2017
Dear TeenHealthFX,
What is the procedure if you test positive for marijuana when the baby is born?
Signed: What is the Procedure if You Test Positive for Marijuana When the Baby is Born?

Dear What is the Procedure if You Test Positive for Marijuana When the Baby is Born?,

The procedure will depend on the hospital your child is born in and the state in which you live. Generally, marijuana is the only drug in the urine screening that will not put your baby into the immediate custody of child protective services. Most likely a social worker employed by the hospital will come and talk to you and will discourage breastfeeding if you are smoking marijuana, as well as discuss treatment options and helpful resources. If the social worker meeting with you has other concerns about the safety and well-being of the baby in addition to the marijuana use, child protective services could be involved.

If you are currently smoking marijuana while pregnant, TeenHealthFX strongly encourages you to discuss this with your doctor right away so you can be educated about the risks to the baby and work with your doctor on ways to stop during your pregnancy. It is best to be honest with your doctor – he/she is there to be helpful to you and your baby.

If you don't have a doctor and live in northern New Jersey, you can find providers through gynecology and obstetrics through Atlantic Health System by clicking here or you can find a local clinic run by Planned Parenthood. You can also contact your insurance company for a list of in-network providers.

If you live in northern New Jersey you might also consider taking a parent education class offered by Atlantic Health System. You can call 973-971-5027 for more information.


Research on marijuana use during pregnancy:

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that women not use marijuana while trying to get pregnant, during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. Here are some research findings about marijuana use and pregnancy:

  • Some associations have been found between marijuana use during pregnancy and future developmental and hyperactivity disorders in children, as well as increased stress responsivity, abnormal patterns of social interactions and learning deficits.
  • Long-term marijuana use may elevate risks for low birth weight or premature birth.
  • Pregnant women who smoke marijuana have a 2.3 greater risk of stillbirth.
  • Some babies born to women who used marijuana during their pregnancies display altered responses to visual stimuli, increased trembling, and a high-pitched cry, which could indicate problems with neurological development.
  • In school, marijuana-exposed children are more likely to show gaps in problem-solving skills, memory, and the ability to remain attentive.
  • Prenatal marijuana exposure is also associated with an increased likelihood of a person using marijuana as a young adult, even when other factors that influence drug use are considered.


For more information you can read the National Institute on Drug Abuse article, Can Marijuana Use During and After Pregnancy Harm the Baby?

Signed: TeenHealthFX