Social Question

Plucky's avatar

What would you do if a pregnant woman was smoking marijuana in front of you?

Asked by Plucky (10282points) June 28th, 2011

I was at a birthday party a few weeks ago for my nephew. This is the child of my brother and his fiance. We were at their house. My immediate family was there (myself, my partner, mom, and sister) ..and so were his fiance’s sister and mother. Later on, a couple, who are friends with his fiance, showed up.

After my partner and I left with my brother’s other child (his older daughter), to take her home, they brought out the marijuana. My brother, his fiance, her two friends, her sister and her mother were smoking it.

Apparently, the couple who arrived late are pregnant (enough for the woman to have a large belly). My sister and mother were just leaving when they saw her smoking pot. Both wanted to say something but didn’t. They decided it was best to leave and not start anything. None of us had met this young woman until then.

What would you have done, if anything?

This isn’t meant to be a debate about pot vs alcohol vs cigarettes vs whatever.

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52 Answers

Judi's avatar

Wow. That’s a tough one. Knowing me, I would probably ask if her doctor approved that and start some family drama. I have a way of speaking up and not having a lot of tact that way. I would probably regret it later, but then, maybe not. I probably would have left when I noticed that the pot came out and never would have seen it in the first place.

Plucky's avatar

@Judi Yeah, I was surprised because my mother and sister are usually quite vocal. I think they just wanted to get out of there once the “party” started.

YARNLADY's avatar

I have always just walked away, since most pot smokers are not open to objections about it.

Aethelflaed's avatar

I wouldn’t have said anything. It’s not like she isn’t aware that it’s bad for the baby, and then I’m just a stranger telling a woman how to be a mother.

funkdaddy's avatar

It’s tough, ultimately it’s her choice but I would have tried to hint at it without being the bad guy.

Maybe I’d speak up to someone I know better in the group, something along the lines of “you guys need to take that outside, she’s pregnant and the baby doesn’t need to be around it”...

From there it’s her choice.

When I waited tables I had a very pregnant young lady come in with a friend. They each ordered margaritas. I checked IDs and she’d just turned 21 a few days before. I got the drinks but when they decided to have a second round and add floaters I had to ask if she was sure and finally just said I’d rather not serve them any more but I’d have a manager come by. Ultimately they left unhappy without another round after the manager agreed it wasn’t a good idea.

Was it the right choice? I’m not sure, it still bothers me because I generally think it’s her choice how to raise her child and that includes the pregnancy. I just didn’t feel like she was fully informed and it wasn’t the place for education.

Hibernate's avatar

I’d tell them how I feel and that it won’t be good for the kid .. in the end I’d let them do what they want since it’s their responsibility.

JilltheTooth's avatar

Slippery slippery slope, that. Would telling her you don’t approve change anything? And in @funkdaddy ‘s case, although I appreciate your concern, where does one draw the line regulating what a pregnant woman can or cannot do? They used to call it “confinement” for a reason, the pregnant woman was essentially housebound as soon as she started to show.
I’d ask anyone not to smoke pot in my house, it’s still illegal (whether that’s right or not isn’t the point), but because she was pregnant? Do you tell a fat person not to eat that bacon? Unless you are the person’s physician, or are privy to knowledge that they don’t have, is it really the place of a stranger to attempt to correct someone’s behavior? And really, what are the chances that that pregnant woman will heed what you say?

poisonedantidote's avatar

“Are you goin to abort that? ... The sprog, are you keeping it? yea? well mind not fucking it’s brain over before it has had a chance to draw breath?”

I would then proceed to debate and argue.

marinelife's avatar

I would get her a copy of this:

“Smoking marijuana during pregnancy may affect your baby’s growth and the development of his nervous system. Studies have shown that children who were exposed to marijuana during pregnancy sometimes have problems focusing their attention and solving problems.

Children of heavy pot users may also have problems with short-term memory, concentration, and judgment. (There’s no evidence so far, however, that marijuana use during pregnancy causes attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).

One study even found that young children whose mothers smoked marijuana during pregnancy had a higher risk of leukemia than those whose mothers did not.

What’s more, there’s no way to know if the pot you’re smoking has been laced with other drugs (such as PCP) or contaminated with pesticides, which would put your baby at even higher risk. And using marijuana increases the chance that your baby will have birth defects if you’re also drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco.”

From The Baby Center

filmfann's avatar

The choices seem to be:
1) Push my views on them
2) Ignore them, and hope they sense my disapproval.
3) Give them my blessing.

Ignoring them seems the only logical path, even though it may give them the impression that I don’t care, or that it’s okay with me.

funkdaddy's avatar

@JilltheTooth – the line for me was that I was physically bringing the alcohol to her. If it was my home I’d have done the same. As I said I was conflicted about it then, and still am so I see your point.

I think a more appropriate example than bacon for an overweight person would be to ask if I’d bring a child food until they were sick because their parent wanted me to.

I wouldn’t do that either.

tinyfaery's avatar

Her body choice, her choice. Either way, any consequences will directly affect her and that’s what we call life.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@funkdaddy : I wasn’t criticizing you, I have been on both sides of that circumstance and I appreciate your position. My point was that where is the line crossed between what we think is appropriate, and taking the choices away from others. Why do you get to decide who to serve when they are behaving within the law?

AmWiser's avatar

Although I never speak my peace to someone I do not know, my thoughts would be saying (in this case), Why would you get pregnant if you’re not going to give the baby a fighting chance to at least be born healthy. Can’t you wait until the baby is born to resume your pot smoking!

wundayatta's avatar

In a way, it’s like the abortion issue. Does a woman have control over her body? If so, we have nothing to say about the marijuana other than to make sure she knows the potential effect it might have.

Is the baby more important than the mother? If so, maybe we could “confine” the pregnant women who do not take proper care of their fetuses. I mean, if you can’t abort them, then doesn’t that imply a positive duty to take care of them properly? Couldn’t we call chilren’s protective services?

Ok, I think it’s the woman’s body and her decision about what to do with it, no matter how it affects her unborn child. I would make an assumption that she does know the effect of marijuana on her baby because who could not know? And if she’s stupid enough not to know, then me saying anything won’t make a difference. In one ear and out the other.

The other reason I wouldn’t say anything is because I think it would be counterproductive. I’m a stranger. I have no credibility. It is more likely that she would act defensively and smoke more than it would be for her to say, “Oh really? Thanks. I didn’t know that,” and stub out the roach.

The information has to come from a credible source, such as a midwife or obstetrician. Maybe even a medical website. I guess the one thing I might ask is, “Are you seeing the doctor regularly so he can check out the baby?” If she says not, I might point out that babies with care before birth (not gonna say prenatal because who knows if she knows that word) do much better than babies with no care.

Then I might ask if she has health insurance, and if not, suggest ways she could get it, such as Medicaid or SCHIP or whatever is happening now under the new law. If I really cared, I would volunteer to find her the information and take her to her first prenatal appointment.

That way, I’m taking a constructive, nonjudgmental approach. I think she would be much more likely to respond well to that than to a shaming approach. Of course, it’s unlikely I would take that on. But I might if it were someone I knew well and cared about quite a lot.

erichw1504's avatar

Since you didn’t know her you did the right thing. It’s her choice, let her be.

OpryLeigh's avatar

It’s not my business or problem. There is enough info about the harm that certain things can do to pregnant women and their unborn babies but if she chooses to ignore it then I’m not going to interfere. I can’t imagine I would think very highly of her though.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I don’t think saying anything in that situation to a pregnant stranger would actually accomplish anything in that it’s not like she’ll be all of a sudden like ‘oooooh! wow, I never knew this was bad for me when I’m pregnant, you’re so wise’ and put the joint down.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I am not really for women smoking anything while pregnant but smoking weed is far less destructive to the baby than cigarettes and I see far farr more people doin that unfortunately.

Coloma's avatar

Clearly the girl/woman must KNOW that her behavior is not cool, my feeling are that to do that in front of party guests is just plain insane, but…nothing you can do.
I’d just feel bad for the fetus, but, it would be a waste of energy to even attempt to talk to the person, it’s their choice. I’d just remove myself from the situation.

tranquilsea's avatar

It is an interesting social phenomena that people feel the need to protect unborn children. A good one I think in most cases; Society bringing you in line when they see something they view as dangerous. The problem can be (and I’m not saying that it is in this scenario) exactly what @JilltheTooth elucidated. Who is responsible? Ultimately it is the mother.

Also what is likely to effect change? In this case walking out would be the best option I think. She wouldn’t have taken it nicely to be chastised by someone she didn’t know.

When I was seven months pregnant I had one small glass of wine on our anniversary. The look on the waiter’s face was conflicted as he poured it. I understood the look but I knew that I wasn’t a routine drinker and that was the only glass of wine I had the whole pregnancy. It had been a very stressful 3 months and I think the stress had more of a deleterious effect on my son than the single glass of wine did. But the waiter couldn’t have known that. And I am not advocating alcohol as a way to de-stress during pregnancy.

Last year while we were at my hubby’s baseball tournament there was a largely pregnant lady there who wanted to play still. As she got up to bat she had people all around her beg her to stand down. She refused. The poor pitcher tossed her the gentlest underhanded pitch and I am pretty sure he was shaking when he pitched it. Then she played first base and no one come in the way they would have had there been someone else there. It was awkward for everyone. That was one headstrong momma.

Judi's avatar

My daughter took a pistol class while she was pregnant. She asked the doctor and he said it wouldn’t harm the baby, but I bet she looked like one tough mama.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Pardon my ignorance, but does taking a few hits from a joint, or smoking one cigarette for that matter, potentially damage a fetus?

redfeather's avatar

I probably would’ve stood in front of her, pointing back and forth between her belly and the pot and just said a long, drawn out, “Woooooooooooow.” then left.

KatawaGrey's avatar

Well, first of all, it’s her body and her choice. It’s bad enough that we as a society, try to tell women what they can and can’t do with a fetus once they are pregnant but telling them what they can and cannot put into their bodies is just as bad, no matter what the circumstances are. As someone who doesn’t like pot, I would be inclined to ignore her seeing as I don’t think people should smoke pot anyway, but that is just a personal issue.

Also, I have heard that smoking pot induces labor. So, maybe she was trying to get the baby out.

@Pied_Pfeffer: The answer is, of course, no. If that was true, then every baby born in a city would be born stupid and stunted. But, shhhh, don’t tell anyone I told you that.

Facade's avatar

From what I’ve read it’s unclear if/how ingesting THC during pregnancy will affect the baby, but since it’s unclear, I don’t think it’d be wise do smoke weed while pregnant. I’d probably ask the woman if she knows anything about the affects of smoking weed while pregnant, and perhaps have a conversation about it.

El_Cadejo's avatar

As an aside I know quite a few people who’s mom smoked weed while preganant, ones who smoked cigs, and a few that did crack.
From what ive noticed the kids who parents smoked cigs seemed more predisposed to asthma.
The ones that did crack had a whole slew of random oddities.
The only real thing I could notice in those that smoked weed was the children tended to be really artistically creative and thought outside the box a lot.

Now I also realize that the amount of people I know, statistically speaking means nothing, but just interesting.

tranquilsea's avatar

My sister adopted 3 brothers who all had a crack addicted mom. The social workers told her that crack wasn’t as bad as alcohol on the baby. They go through withdrawl but seem to be fairly ok after withdrawl. The kids are now 8, 9 and 12 and, although my sister has messed them up, they are good kids.

blueberry_kid's avatar

I agree with @tinyfaery , it’s her body, she can do what she wants with it. If she wants to kill her baby, let her be. Otherwise, if you really care about this pregnant woman, try to help her by talking to her and help her try to stop.

funkdaddy's avatar

Does anyone’s answer change if it’s a 3 month old and daddy smokes out while feeding? How about if mom is breastfeeding while drunk?

I’m not arguing for or against here but just curious on people’s opinions where they’d decide to say something.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@JilltheTooth brings up a good point. If you wouldn’t stand for her smoking pot, and you wouldn’t bring her an alcoholic drink, what if she ordered a tuna steak? Would you bring her that? What if you were just another customer that saw her eating a tuna steak? What if you knew she wasn’t taking prenatal vitamins? Where do you draw the line?

Facade's avatar

I forgot to add that I’d most likely ask her to pass it lol

El_Cadejo's avatar

hey heyyy you’re pregnant you cant be smokin that, pass that shit over my way. Im just doing this for your health, remember that :P

Facade's avatar

Lmao! Hell yea

tinyfaery's avatar

Bwahaha. Pass that shit over here.

pshizzle's avatar

Smack her in the face as hard as I could.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

@KatawaGrey Thank you for answering my question.

@marinelife I found the same article that you posted and read through a handful of the comments posted. Most seemed to disagree with that information. Whether the OP and comments are right or wrong, I would prefer to read more on the subject before approaching this pregnant lady.

@PluckyDog Since your sister and mother don’t know this woman, it seems like they did the right thing by not speaking up.

Plucky's avatar

Interesting answers so far. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer. If I were there when this happened I don’t think I would have said anything either. The main reason being that I know anything I say would most likely go unheard any ways. Although, I would have taken my brother to the side and talked to him about it (to possibly find out more information on her). Do I think she should not be smoking marijuana whilst pregnant? Certainly. Better to be safe.

There are way more studies on the effects of alcohol, harsh drugs and cigarettes on pregnancy. I don’t think there are enough studies on the effects of marijuana on pregnant humans just yet. I find it odd when people say, outright, that pot is harmless or harmful on a fetus. We don’t know enough yet. As individuals, we all have different experiences on the matter which also cloud our opinions.

The opinons on this thread have me wondering, though. The people that say we have no right to tell an expectant mother what she can put into her body: would your answers be different if it were heroin, alcohol or cigarettes?

I don’t know the woman. But, I do know of her. The only reason she is pregnant is because her boyfriend was going to leave her she got pregnant to “keep” him. She does not deny this at all. She’s in the young party mode phase of her life. Just by talking to her, one can tell she’s not the brightest of individuals. This causes me to feel a sort of duty, as a human being, to find out if she knows any better (regarding her choices). It also may not be my business. But I do think it’s my duty to offer help to another whether clearly asked or not. Just as when an alcohol server stops serving an alcoholic. It may not be their right to do so – but it’s the right thing to do.

I know there have been several attempts to make it illegal for pregnant women to consume alcohol and/or narcotics throughout their pregnancy. I’m not entirely sure what my stance is on that. It is rather extreme.

I understand the opinions of everyone that posted – I do. However, I find myself agreeing more with @funkdaddy, @marinelife, @Leanne1986, @Facade and @Coloma. Although, my tougher side agrees with @poisonedantidote and @pshizzle on some level.

Thank you for the replies everyone. :)

tranquilsea's avatar

@PluckyDog for me it really depends on my relationship with the mother. That’s because I really want to effect change. My sister smoked like chimney all through her pregnancy. She also ate nothing but McDonalds. I harped at her all the time. Didn’t end up changing a damn thing. Her son weighed 6 lbs when he was born. He was truly scrawny.

For reference: I don’t smoke and my kids ranged in weight from 8bls to 9bls.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@PluckyDog would your answers be different if it were heroin, alcohol or cigarettes? No, no, and no. If I’m not going to tell them how to treat their body when they aren’t pregnant, I’m not going to treat them like they’ve suddenly become just an incubator, and now need my superior wisdom just because they’re with child.

Pied_Pfeffer's avatar

Your desire to reach out and offer help as a sense of duty is understandable. I have often felt the same way and have done so. If you feel the need to act upon it in this case, then do so. Just start with something more global, such as creating a friendship with this woman and coaching her on her own health and well-being, as well as the child’s, if she is open to it.

While I don’t know if smoking pot is damaging to a fetus, if it is, it becomes a problem for all of us that are impacted by this child and their future behavior. I’m thinking of teachers and fellow students, family members and friends, tax payers, etc.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

I wouldn’t say anything but I would be thinking she was an idiot gambling with the health of her unborn child.

Linda_Owl's avatar

Marijuana has not been shown to cause damage to the unborn fetus, but smoking anything can be harmful. All things considered, smoking marijuana would be preferable to drinking anything containing alcohol – alcohol will definitely damage the unborn fetus.

Aethelwine's avatar

I know several women who smoked pot when they were pregnant. Not only did the children turn out fine (and healthy), they turned out to be very talented and/or smart kids.

My mom smoked cigarettes when she was pregnant with me over 40 years ago. I’ve had many health issues because of this.

this is just a small sample of people, of course, like @uberbatman

KatawaGrey's avatar

Sometimes I wonder what kind of super-human powers I would have developed if my mother had quit smoking when she was pregnant with me.

tranquilsea's avatar

I’m the only child (out of six) that my mother stopped smoking with. Apparently the cigarettes make her sick. She started smoking again once she had me. I’m probably the smartest one out of all the siblings. That could have been luck of the draw too.

JilltheTooth's avatar

@KatawaGrey : Super powers are often spawned from toxic-waste exposure. Think what a dull old stick you’d be if I had quit smoking when I was pregnant with you
In my defense, I was smoking only about 1 cigarette a day. And @KatawaGrey is not even remotely prone to respiratory issues.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@JilltheTooth: Haha, I knew it wasn’t that much, but people act as if one cigarette during the course of pregnancy means a baby will be born severely autistic and unable to breathe.

Interestingly enough, I have noticed much worse respiratory issues in children who’s parents do not smoke and have never smoked, but are super-protective and so do not allow their kids yo play outside much or get dirty. A) They are inside so much that they inhale all the crap that builds up in a house and B) they have an under-developed immune system due to parents being obsessively clean and germ free.

El_Cadejo's avatar

@KatawaGrey I remember in one of my classes last semester we were shown a study that pretty much said that. The kids that stayed inside all the time where more likely to have a weaker immune system and have allergies where kids that grew up on a farm constantly being outside and exposed to all that stuff where not. Ya got to prime your immune system otherwise when it first makes contact with that new thing its just like ohhh fucks I dont know what the hell this is, kill it with fire!!! :P

tranquilsea's avatar

@KatawaGrey I agree with shoving kids outside as much as possible for multiple benefits including allergy reduction. I don’t know that I would encourage parents to smoke around them for the same reason.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@tranquilsea: I never said anything about encouraging smoking around children. However, it is extremely hypocritical to get all worked up about a pregnant smoking once and be totally okay with kids who are shut inside all day. Guess who’s healthier? The child of the occasional smoker who makes his/her kids go play outside, not the the child of the non-smoker whose kids never go outside.

tranquilsea's avatar

@KatawaGrey I get what you’re saying. I’m just separating the two scenarios. Ideally, you have non-smoking parents that let you outside to play and experience the world.

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