Aspen Birth Center Blog

All content provided on the Aspen Birth Center blog is for informational purposes only.  Aspen Valley Hospital District (AVHD) makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or by following any link on this site.

FDA on Marijuana, THC, CBD-Breastfeeding and Pregnancy

November 14, 2019

New Alert from the FDA on Marijuana, THC, CBD

Now that the sale and use of marijuana is legal in many states for medical use and in some states for recreational use, do you discuss the use of cannabis and cannabis-derived products with your pregnant and breastfeeding patients? These products have become much more common in recent years and many new parents are confused as to whether they are safe to use.

In response to a flood of new cannabis-containing products on the market, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) recently released a statement strongly advising against the use of cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabidiol (THC) and marijuana in any form during pregnancy or while lactating. There are many unanswered questions as to exactly how these substances affect the developing fetus, breastfeeding infants and even mothers’ milk supplies.

People are often confused by all the terms used to describe additives, supplements and oils. Cannabis is a plant that contains over eighty biologically active chemical compounds. THC and CBD are the two most commonly known compounds. Marijuana is one type of cannabis plant which contains varying amounts of THC, the compound that causes a person to feel "high." Hemp is another type of cannabis plant which contains very low amounts of THC. CBD, a compound which does not produce a "high," can be derived from either marijuana or hemp. The FDA says there may be serious risks to pregnant or breastfeeding mothers using cannabis products, including those containing CBD.

Research suggests that there are potential negative effects from using marijuana and THC-containing products. The U.S. Surgeon General recently cautioned that THC can enter the fetal brain through a mother’s bloodstream and may increase the risk of low birth weight.

Premature birth and potential stillbirth may also be linked to marijuana use. Breast milk can contain THC for up to six days after use and may affect the baby’s brain development resulting in hyperactivity, poor cognitive function and other long-term effects.

There is not a large body of research on the effects of CBD in pregnancy and while breastfeeding, but the FDA is continuing to look at the research and collect data. High doses of CBD in animal models has shown an adverse effect on the reproductive systems of developing male fetuses. There is also potential for contamination from other substances and concern about side effects, drug interactions and long-term use.

Discussions about marijuana, THC, and CBD use are important when interacting with preconceptual or pregnant patients and new parents. Not only should they make informed decisions regarding the use of cannabis-containing products, they need to be aware of state regulations regarding their use.

Some things to consider and discuss include:

• THC enters breast milk and has the potential to affect the baby.
THC is stored in body fat and remains in the body for a long time. Babies have a high percentage of brain and body fat.
The American Academy of Pediatrics states that marijuana should not be used while breastfeeding.
Not much is known about the amount of THC in breast milk, the length of time it remains in the breast milk, and the effects on the infant.
Since THC is stored in fat and stays in the body a long time, it’s not known how long a mother would need to "pump and dump" to wait for THC to be eliminated from breast milk.
Marijuana is legal in some states in the U.S., but this doesn’t mean it is safe for pregnant moms or babies. Some hospitals test babies after birth for drugs and may notify child protective services if they test positive.

For more information, check out the resources below.





Article Information collected from: Human Milk Insights, Medela, November 2019

Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC

No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Only a Third of Pregnant Women Getting Vaccinations They Need

October 10, 2019

TUESDAY, Oct. 8, 2019 (HealthDay News) -- About two-thirds of pregnant women in the United States don't get vaccinated against both flu and whooping cough, putting them and their newborns at risk, a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

"Influenza and pertussis (or whooping cough) are serious infections that can be deadly for babies, especially those who are too young to be vaccinated directly," Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, said in a news briefing on Tuesday.
But when women receive these vaccines during pregnancy, they pass along antibodies to the fetus that then provide protection during the time newborns are too young to be vaccinated.

The vaccines also benefit expectant mothers, Schuchat stressed. "Women who are pregnant are more than twice as likely to be hospitalized if they develop influenza, compared with similar-aged women during influenza season," she said.

But as the new CDC report found, only a minority of pregnant American women are getting the shots they need.

The agency surveyed nearly 2,100 women aged 18 to 49 who were pregnant between August 2018 and April 2019. Of those, 54% said they got a flu shot before or during pregnancy, and 55% were vaccinated for whooping cough while pregnant. That could mean more pregnant women becoming very ill, the report also found. Looking at data on all 15- to 44-year-old women who were hospitalized due to flu since 2010, between 24% and 34% were pregnant, the CDC study found, even though only 9% of U.S. women in this age group are pregnant at any given time each year.

"Women have enough issues to address when they're pregnant without going through a difficult hospitalization if they come down with influenza," Schuchat said.

In total, only about 35% of women received both vaccinations during pregnancy, the CDC said.

Dr. Laura Riley, an obstetrician and gynecologist-in-chief at NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, in New York City, said, "The numbers are much lower than they should be and it is disappointing given the benefits for moms and babies associated with these vaccines." She said the numbers may be low because they came from an online survey that depended on patient recall.

But, Riley added, it's important for pregnant women to get protection from the flu. "If they get the flu, [they] are at greater risk for having severe complications like ICU admission, maternal death, prematurity, preterm labor," she explained.

The survey found that women whose health care providers offered or referred them for shots had the highest vaccination rates. Black women had lower rates than women in other racial/ethnic groups, and were less likely to report being offered or referred for vaccination, the findings showed.

The CDC recommends all pregnant women get a flu shot at any stage of pregnancy and the whooping cough vaccine (Tdap) early in the third trimester as part of routine prenatal care. A flu shot reduces a pregnant woman's risk of being hospitalized due to flu by an average of 40%, a recent study found.The flu is also dangerous for babies, especially those younger than 6 months. They are too young to get their own flu shot and have the highest incidence of flu-related hospitalization and greatest risk of flu-related death among children.

Flu vaccination in pregnant women reduces the risk of flu-related hospitalization for infants under 6 months of age by an average of 72%, according to the CDC.

And whooping cough can be deadly, especially before babies start getting the vaccine at 2 months of age. Two-thirds of babies under 2-months-old who get the disease require hospital care. Seven of 10 whooping cough deaths (69%) occur in that age group. Tdap vaccination during the third trimester of pregnancy prevents more than 78% of whooping cough in babies under 2-months-old.

Schuchat suggested that many women may have the mistaken belief they are already protected."Many women thought because they previously received it (Tdap) that it was not needed again during the current pregnancy," she said during the news briefing. "But we've actually been recommending women get Tdap shots during each pregnancy since 2012."

And for any woman wary of getting vaccinated, Schuchat said that "it's been proven repeatedly that these vaccinations are safe for pregnant women and their developing babies."

Dr. Amanda Cohn, chief medical officer at the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, called on obstetricians and midwives to discuss the importance of maternal vaccination with their pregnant patients.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield underscored the point. "All expectant mothers should be up-to-date with recommended vaccinations as part of their routine prenatal care," he said in a CDC news release. "CDC strongly recommends that health care providers speak with moms-to-be about the benefits of safe Tdap and flu vaccination for their health and the well-being of their babies." The new research was published Oct. 8 in the CDC's Vital Signs report.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on pregnancy and vaccines.

SOURCES: news briefing, Oct. 8, 2019, with Anne Schuchat, M.D., principal deputy director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Laura Riley, M.D., obstetrician and gynecologist-in-chief, NewYork-Presbyterian and Weill Cornell Medicine, New York City; U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Oct. 8, 2019


Last Updated:

No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Exercise While Breastfeeding

September 19, 2019

Exercise While Breastfeeding

Moms face many barriers in the postpartum period, in regards to life balance, motherhood, breastfeeding, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes a healthy diet and exercise program.

In the August 2019 Journal of Women’s Health Physical Therapy, authors surveyed more than 600 moms about their physical activity pre-pregnancy, during pregnancy and during breastfeeding. One reported barrier to physical activity was physical discomfort, such as the inability to find supportive nursing sports bras or pain due to recovery from a c-section. Some mothers reported concerns about a reduction in their milk supply, inability to pay for gym membership, and needing assistance with childcare during exercise. Not surprisingly, many moms listed a lack of time and energy as a major barrier to maintaining their physical health.

Despite these reported barriers, the majority of surveyed moms were able to report they take part in light physical activity for 4 hours per week.

For all moms, physical activity is one of the best things one can do postpartum to feel well.

Science has proven physical activity, even if it is high intensity, does not reduce milk supply or change the composition of milk.

Health care providers can educate mothers on how to remain active during the postpartum period and debunk concerns about milk supply reduction. Also, educating mothers on the risks of caloric restrictions and the importance of staying hydrated can help ensure moms will feel healthy postpartum.


Perceptions of Physical Activity While Breastfeeding Using the Self-determination Theory

Article: "Human Insights"

Mother's Milk Bank Denver, CO 2019

Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>

Anyone can be a superhero!

August 6, 2019

World Breastfeeding
National Breastfeeding Month


Celebrate World Breatfeeding Month

Protect your right to breastfeed!

Anyone can be a superhero. Colorado laws allow breastfeeding in public. Employers in Colorado are required to provide private space, not a toilet stall, and break time to pump or breastfeed. #COHealthyKids #WBW2019 #COBreastfeeds

Talk to your employer and child care provider. Tell them of your plans to breastfeed and your needs to pump. Protect your right to breastfeed! Provide them with the Colorado toolkits and resources. Remember the laws that support breastfeeding. #COHealthyKids #WBW2019 #COBreastfeeds

Promote breastfeeding!

Anyone can be a superhero. Arm yourself with information. Learn about breastfeeding. Share it with others. Make breastfeeding the norm. #COHealthyKids #WBW2019 #COBreastfeeds

Pregnant? Find out if your hospital is designated as Baby-Friendly. A Baby-Friendly certified hospital must meet guidelines that support breastfeeding and have improved health outcomes for moms and babies. Baby-Friendly hospitals provide the best start for your baby and the best support for families. For more information visit #COHealthyKids #WBW2019 #COBreastfeeds

Support breastfeeding! 

Anyone can be a superhero. Build your support team. Ask for help. Get help from family, friends, WIC, health care providers, lactation consultants, coworkers and support groups. #COHealthyKids #WBW2019 #COBreastfeeds

Health benefits

Did you know breastfeeding improves moms’ health by reducing the risk of:

·       Breast and ovarian cancers.

·       Heart disease.

·       Diabetes.

·       Rheumatoid Arthritis.

·       Weak bones and breaks.

To receive the most health benefits, breastfeed for at least one year. #COHealthyKids #WBW2019 #COBreastfeeds


Did you know breastfeeding improves babies’ health by reducing the risk of:

·       SIDS.

·       Respiratory tract and ear infections.

·       Diarrhea and other stomach problems.

·       Childhood obesity.

·       Leukemia and childhood cancers.

·       Asthma, allergies and eczema.

To receive the most health benefits, breastfeed for at least one year. #COHealthyKids #WBW2019 #COBreastfeeds

Give yourself and your baby all the benefits of breastfeeding. Any breastfeeding provides health benefits to both moms and babies! Doctors recommend feeding your baby only breast milk for the first 6 months to receive the most benefits. #COHealthyKids #WBW2019 #COBreastfeeds

Breastfeeding longer has benefits that last a lifetime. It is recommended that babies continue to receive breast milk at least until the baby is 1 year old. Moms should continue to breastfeed as long as they and baby wish thereafter. #COHealthyKids #WBW2019 #COBreastfeeds


Breastfeeding helps moms and babies bond and can increase mom’s confidence. Breastfeeding also helps moms make connections with family, friends, WIC and other moms. #YouAreEnough #COHealthyKids #WBW2019 #COBreastfeeds


Breastfeeding gives moms peace of mind. Breast milk is always available! No need to worry about properly mixing formula, ensuring it is the right temperature or checking expiration dates or recalls. #BreastfeedingPeaceOfMind #COHealthyKids #WBW2019 #COBreastfeeds


A Bright Future

Breast milk is good for the environment! Its production does not harm the environment and fewer bottles and cans end up in the landfill. #GoGreenAndBreastfeed #COHealthyKids #WBW2019 #COBreastfeeds

Breastfed babies are sick less often which lowers health care costs and reduces the number of sick days for parents. #BreastfeedingBenefitsThatLast #COHealthyKids #WBW2019 #COBreastfeeds


Posted by Heather Knott, RN-IBCLC and Childbirth Educator
No Comments   |   Add a Comment >>