Teen Mom's Jenelle Evans Smoked Marijuana While Pregnant: Ob-Gyn Says 'Just One Time' Isn't Safe

Teen Mom's Jenelle Evans admitted to smoking marijuana during her pregnancy, and an ob-gyn weighs in on how that affects the baby

Teen Mom 2 star Jenelle Evans recently admitted to smoking marijuana while pregnant with daughter Ensley last year, and said she tested positive for THC after giving birth. It’s becoming increasingly common for moms-to-be to use pot to battle pregnancy nausea, but is it safe?

Dr. Mary Jane Minkin, an ob-gyn from Yale University and member of PEOPLE’s Health Squad, “strongly discourages women from using marijuana in any form during pregnancy.”

“Even if the mom smokes just one time, there are studies showing that it crosses the placenta. That causes the concentration of THC in the baby to be about 10% of that in the mom. And with repeated uses, the amount goes up,” Dr. Minkin tells PEOPLE. “The other problem is that THC binds well to fats, in cell membranes, and can achieve a significant level not only in the mom’s brain, but also in the fetal brain.”

Dr. Minkin cites the Oct. 2017 opinion from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists [of which she is a member], which reviewed over 40 studies on marijuana use during pregnancy.

“The studies didn’t find many cases of physical defects, like heart defects, with marijuana use, but there are plenty of studies showing that it can effect what is called impaired neurodevelopment and cognitive development — thinking, behavior and some visual problems,” she says.

Rather than using marijuana to counter nausea, Dr. Minkin says there are “a lot of other, safer options available.”

“There is even some data on good old vitamin B6, which helps some women with nausea during pregnancy. So please, if you are having nausea, do check in with your midwife or obstetrician,” she says.

And after the baby is born, Dr. Minkin cautions against marijuana use if the mother is breastfeeding.

“There aren’t a lot of studies on breast milk, as far as exact levels of THC in the milk, but since some does get across, marijuana use in breast feeding is also discouraged,” she says.

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