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Marijuana Use During Pregnancy and CPS Involvement

On Health & Drugs & Medications » Pregnancy & Birth

56,536 words with 60 Comments; publish: Fri, 14 Dec 2007 15:54:00 GMT; (900187.50, « »)

Hi all. I'm new to these forums, so I apologize for just jumping straight in and asking a question, but I'm scared to death and y'all seem to be the most logical and non-judgmental set of parents on the internet.

I'm currently 34 weeks pregnant. Throughout my pregnancy and prior to it, I've smoked marijuana almost daily for a number of reasons, primarily severe social anxiety issues. When I found out I was pregnant, I extensively studied marijuana use during pregnancy and could find no conclusive studies one way or the other. At best, studies indicate that marijuana use has no effect or a slightly positive effect on babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy. At worst, studies indicate low birth weight and possibly lower developmental scores. To combat possible negative side effects, I've made sure to eat a healthy diet and have kept up with prenatal vitamins, etc. I would say on an average, I probably had 4-5 hits daily.

I plan an all natural birth in a hospital. As this is my first child, I am not quite comfortable with an unassisted home birth, however I've been reading everything I can about it and have started preparations for it just in case. I'm located in the state of Georgia, where midwife assisted homebirth is practically illegal. I was never able to find a midwife who could legally assist me with a home birth and now I'm sort of regretting not searching harder for assistance.

We definitely planned for our home to be completely pot-free in time for the baby's arrival because I didn't want to deal with possible legal issues. Blame my naivety, I suppose, but I never really thought about possible legal issues of using marijuana during pregnancy. It never occurred to me that it would even be possible for them to take my baby away due to my drug use during pregnancy. I stumbled across some research last week which indicates that if I or my baby test positive for illegal drugs, CPS will be contacted and they could take my baby. Thankfully, Georgia is not a state where prenatal drug use is considered child abuse, but that is of little comfort when I know that CPS could get involved.

Out of complete and utter paranoia, I stopped smoking completely last week, when there was about 45 days left until my due date. I've discovered that the baby's first stool sample could indicate marijuana use from the previous 4-5 months. Due to my daily use of marijuana over the years, I am not sure that I would test clean by the time my baby is born. Surprisingly, I have been able to handle my social anxiety issues since quitting which just makes me feel even worse for continuing the drug use during pregnancy. I have noticed that I have no appetite now, though I am not nauseous or vomiting. I've probably consumed no more than 3000 calories over the past week and I haven't weighed myself to see if I'm losing weight.

I've done countless searches for laws in my state to see how they handle newborn drug screening and I cannot find anything conclusive. With a completely natural birth, I highly doubt my newborn will show any signs of drug exposure or withdrawal (especially as I doubt marijuana use would show any noticeably bad side effects at birth to begin with.)

My husband believes that they would only test our baby if they had reason to believe it has been exposed to drugs. I'm terrified that they will slip the test in anyway and that my baby will be kidnapped by CPS. At this point, it's just too late to do anything about it so that we both test clean. My baby will show exposure to drugs if they test him, even if I am clean by then.

I've cried for hours every day over this possibility and I just don't know what I can do. Is there any way I can make sure I come home with my baby at this point? I believe I could handle an unassisted home birth, but I know if something goes wrong and I need to be transfered to the hospital, it will just increase the likelihood that they will test. I know to read carefully over anything I sign at the hospital to be sure I don't unwittingly give consent for them to test me or my baby for drugs, but I'm scared that if that is on their forms and I do decline consent, it will make them suspicious and give them probable cause to do it anyway.

It is slightly comforting to know that many women have used marijuana while pregnant and they came home with their babies. At this point, I don't even care if CPS does get involved in my life as long as I can come home with my child. I just don't know what to do short of packing everything up and moving to Canada to insure my family stays intact.

Can any of you ladies give me a realistic idea of what I'm facing? What my rights are? Any first hand stories of similar experiences other mothers went through in a state that does not mandate newborn drug screening or view prenatal drug exposure as child abuse? I want to be as prepared as possible.

The fact that my baby could be taken away from me for this is just maddening. My husband and I both have great careers; we make good money; we have a stable home and we are generally good people. I use no other drugs, do not smoke, do not drink alcohol. Neither of us have ever been arrested. The worst problems we've ever had with the law are speeding tickets. Would they really take my baby away from me for marijuana use?

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  • 60 Comments
    • I just wanted to give you a hug mama cause you sound so scared! I would recommend not letting your baby out of your sight the entire time you're in the hospital. I would recommend that to anyone, regardless of circumstances. Question everything the staff wants to do, and don't just give in cause they are the experts. From what I understand, CPS doesn't take kids away for mj usage alone. Wishing you a peaceful and healthy birth of your child. Don't beat yourself up. Everything should be fine. :hug
      #1; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:24:00 GMT
    • I just wanted to give you a hug mama cause you sound so scared! I would recommend not letting your baby out of your sight the entire time you're in the hospital.

      Thank you! We do NOT plan on letting our baby out of our sight. I see no need for the baby to be taken out of my room at all (labor, delivery and recovery all one room). At my next prenatal appointment, I'm going to ask for a list of all tests and shots they routinely perform on newborns. I am pretty sure I'm going to decline all of them at birth. I want my baby's birth day to be about our family and bonding, not being poked and prodded by complete strangers my baby will never "see" again. I hope they accept this as a valid reason. I also hope it decreases the amount of time we need to stay in the hospital and doesn't raise any additional flags for us.

      I do plan on doing the hearing test and PKU test shortly after birth and will see if it's possible to do that at the baby's first post-birth exam.

      I definitely want to discuss all these tests with my provider soon to explain my logic behind declining them at first and express my desire and willingness to perform the tests or procedures I see as beneficial shortly after birth.

      I don't even want anyone on the hospital staff to hold my baby. I'd prefer it if they didn't touch the baby at all. I think it's sad that a bunch of strangers force their way into a baby's life before the parents have had time to bond with the child.

      UC is looking better and better every single moment.

      #2; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:25:00 GMT
    • For me it was somewhat backwards because while I had an excellent prenatal care record, documented complications, etc, DS came after a short, hard labor, was VERY small for gestational age, and was having trouble feeding. Oh, and I was using Medicaid too. The questions they asked me were ridiculous. "Are you SURE you didn't smoke or use drugs?" Yes. "REALLY SURE?" Yes. "Would you mind if we tested?" Would I mind? Yes. Would I consent? Yes, because I had nothing to hide. But of course I'd be offended because my illness etc was documented and here they were making threats like I was some junkie.

      Not that I think smoking pot is the same thing at all, in fact I considered it many times to relieve the never-ending nausea but I didn't have a ready supply and I didn't feel like getting some questionable street sourced drugs. But now I'm glad that it worked out that way because I know I would have been just as paranoid as you about getting caught, and in fact they probably would test me more readily than they would test you.

      I would say that people go a lot by appearances and averages and such. If you say you're middle class with a good job and private insurance, I don't think anyone will look twice at you. We, while being a perfectly wholesome and educated couple, are looked on as scum because we hit some hard times due to our combined medical issues. This is a tangent but if you apply for Medicaid they assume you're basically worthless, they ask question after question (goes on for pages and pages) about do you at least have a friend's couch to sleep on, are you infested with roaches, and the "highest education level completed" option on their form is SOME college, having a college degree is not even ON their list, but every grade level from grades 4 and up are on there.

      So... I say you're good.

      I also second the suggestion that if you DID go with home birth that you could just show up and not mention anything about where you originally intended to give birth.

      #3; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:26:00 GMT
    • Thank you Grace. I have seen a professional for these issues who only wanted to medicate me with drugs that have side effects much more severe than marijuana which didn't help nearly as much. Talking through my issues has done nothing to change my personality or anxiety levels. I am willing to live with them and force myself to cope for the sake of my child. I do wish I would have had the courage to do that sooner though.

      A lot of times if you end up talking to the wrong person they do medicate... I would suggest talking to an LCSW not a psychiatrist (cuz all they want to do is give you drugs too, and I absolutely agree that those drugs can be far worse!). I hear you, I do, I just know it can take time to find the right person who can really help you work it out... I have a lot of faith in talk therapy if you find the right person. I just hate to think of you thinking you have to "live with it" (anxiety) because you didn't find the right person to help you the first time. I know how awful it is.

      So, back to finding a solution... how about getting a doula to go with you to the hospital? She can set up an atmosphere of protecting the birth mother/ baby from unnecessary testing, period, and make you maybe feel a little better insulated against all of it. Have a birth plan that turns down the shots and all that, come on strong instead of scared, and I think they'll leave you alone.

      I know I came on strong, and it wasn't an attempt to shame you in any way... but I know a lot of times people are in denial about potential drug problems. Doesn't sound like you are, so that's good :) I do wish you luck, and I don't think you have to worry, it sounds like they should just assume everything's alright from the get-go.

      Good luck with the anxiety stuff, in the future, however you handle it... I know it's tough to deal with.

      #4; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:27:00 GMT
    • I know this was not your question but I just want to urge you to find someone to talk to about your issues... if your anxiety issues are so bad you are self-medicating (especially using drugs or alcohol) I want to assure you that finding a decent therapist/ counselor can help you work THROUGH these issues and let them go, and be FREE of them.

      I also wanted to urge you to get help and find legal ways to treat your anxiety. I think you need to be prepared for the fact that it may very well get much worse after your baby is born. I know that prior anxiety is a risk factor for postpartum anxiety/depression. I think being prepared for that possibilty is important, and finding legal ways to treat it/ a therapist or professional you can trust is very important now (before the baby gets here).

      :hugs mama. Just to ditto other posters, I have never heard of routine drug tests on mothers or infants in the hospital. Unless the baby shows signs of drug use during prengancy (ie. is a low birth weight, etc.) then I think it is pretty unlikely.

      #5; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:28:00 GMT
    • how about getting a doula to go with you to the hospital? She can set up an atmosphere of protecting the birth mother/ baby from unnecessary testing, period, and make you maybe feel a little better insulated against all of it.

      Big fat :yeah:

      #6; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:29:00 GMT
    • This is going to sound completely paranoid (and I don't even smoke mj! :lol ), but please remember that the internet is not anonymous. I think it is a bad idea to have this kind of confession down in writing in a public forum. Just in case something *were* to happen and they seized your computer for some reason, it would be easy for them to track down your posts here.

      That said, as long as you don't let your baby out of your sight, you should be fine. Don't worry about appearing "guilty" by refusing testing if it is "offered" to you. It doesn't seem like something they should be able to do without consent or a court order, and I personally would go all the way to the Supreme Court to prevent "random" searches/testing. The only blood test your baby should need in the hospital (unless you are Rh-), is the PKU. This is a heal stick and the blood goes directly onto a piece of paper or white cardboard.

      Lastly, I would recommend against going UC for this reason alone. If you aren't comfortable having an UC in other circumstances, you probably shouldn't do it just to avoid a slight possibility of drug testing. It just seems like it would be difficult for you to fully relax and be comfortable with your decision, if it were made under such stressful circumstances. Just my opinion. Of course is you were cool with UC all along, then by all means, go for it! :)

      #7; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:30:00 GMT
    • Why would they test you? They don't just test all babies for drugs.
      #8; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:31:00 GMT
    • Good point, Gottaknit.

      Delete, darlin'. I'm sure MDC won't mind losing one thread for the sake of your wellbeing.

      Remember that much research has shown that more damage is done to a fetus by stress than smoking (cigarettes, in the research). Low birth weight etc - if a mother is very stressed. Not that it helps your case because western maternal care does not focus on emotional well being, so it's up to you.

      That said, the thousands of babies born daily mean that to test one family they have to have cause. I don't believe they randomly or routinely test for drugs, but I'm not American so I'm not entirely sure. At first, I thought you were targeted but re reading I realised you were just worried because you smoked. Have you heard of withdrawal paranoia? It can be very severe and last many weeks, affecting sleep, eating and anxiety levels. Be sure you have adequate zinc levels and B vits. You may be surprised by the number of women who smoke pot while pregnant. Most are quiet about it of course because of the legalities let alone the stigma while pregnant. Also a large number of women refuse testing and all other "protocol", so you won't stand out for that either, unless you are going to a small, country hospital.

      I know that within three months it cannot be traced with a regular drug screen, my brother had to be regularly tested and he showed no trace after two months of quitting. I also know another person who smoked almost their whole life, stoned 24/7, and tested negative after quitting for an upcoming test - I think the test was 6 weeks after he quit. They say 3 months, but I think that is the outside, maximum to expect. Stay away from it is my suggestion, even second hand (if partner is smoking). Loss of weight can cause release of THC and other chemicals from storage (hence why some cleansing fasts can be psychedelic), so you have pregnancy on your side, where your body is holding fast to weight.

      #9; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:32:00 GMT
    • I just want to reiterate - ZINC! and manganese. To help you with the low feelings after the birth. Also, babies low in zinc (ie, breastfed by mothers low in zinc) cry more and are basically irritable. So it becomes a cycle of depressed mother/screaming baby. ZINC! Maternal nutrition cannot be stressed enough, because it effects the demeanor of mama and babe. Apparently, in cultures that eat the placenta they strengthen their bodies with four months supply of zinc and have less emotional complications. Pot smokers have benefits but they also have deficits. It takes a lot of C and other vits/mins to clean up the smoke from the lungs and the carbon and so on. You are likely deficient, and pregnancy supplements don't always contain zinc and certain other ones that are quite necessary.
      #10; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:33:00 GMT
    • Women have homebirths in Georgia every day. It is not illegal, it just ain't legal.
      #11; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:34:00 GMT
    • Just to make you feel a little better. I work in a hospital in GA. We had a baby who both mom and baby tested positive for cocaine and mom admitted to "touching it once with the tips of her fingers...it MUST have gotten in er system that way!":dizzy: Anyway, they were tested due to complications with the baby and moms history. So, baby was in NICU for a while to grow and learn to eat. CPS was involved, did a home study....and baby went home with the parents. FWIW....the person who said GA hospitals suck (I don't personally think so but whatever)....GA DFACS REALLLLLLLYYYYY SUCKS!!! Seriously, my mom is a foster mother and you wouldn't believe the situations they return kids to. SOooooo, even if they were to say anything to you or test the two of you....I am sure you would be in the clear since they have 'more important' things to deal with.
      #12; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:35:00 GMT
    • I know of two pregnant women who smoked (weed) during their pregnancies, one longer and more heavily than the other. One woman stopped at around 30 weeks, was tested, and tested clean. The other quit smoking a mere two weeks before her baby was born and she, too, tested clean. Both of these women were on medicaid, which is why their babies were tested.

      I do believe that they can only test the mother, at least in indiana, and that if the test comes up positive, a home study, or something similar will be conducted before CPS takes any action against the mother.

      i hope this is at least in some way comforting. both of those mamas were worried that their babies would get taken away from them too. remember to drink plenty of water to flush your system, as well as baby's. :)

      #13; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:36:00 GMT
    • i just wanted to add that i worked in a very large NICU, level 3, and we had a decent amount of babies that were born addicted to real drugs, like crack, heroin, etc.

      anyway! we did NOT routinely check moms or babies for drugs. babies might be checked if something seems REALLY REALLY off with them. like babies coming off of crack/ cocaine, heroin, etc. have severely high pitched cries and they are jittery beyond belief. holding doesn't make it better, but large swining motions would calm them.

      i DOUBT you or your baby would strike anyone as "odd" and therefore needed to perform a drug test on either of you. we NEVER had a baby in our NICU born addicted to pot. and if there ever was, i didn't know about it. they obviously do not have the same symptoms as truly drug addicted babies.

      i would try not to stress about it. NO one is going to check the baby's meconium or your placenta for drugs. and as long as you don't show up high, i'm sure all will be fine :)

      oh yeah, AND i wanted to tell you that a lot of our babies that were born addicted to drugs DID end up going home with their mothers. CPS might have gotten involved while they were in the NICU, but as long as the moms were making steps in the right direction they let the babies go home with them.

      #14; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:37:00 GMT
    • I don't know where in Georgia you are, but would delivering at the Farm in Tennessee be an option for you? It's in Summertown, which is kind of south-central TN. It might be worth a call...
      #15; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:38:00 GMT
    • :hug Please take a deep breath :hug

      I know women in GA who have had midwife-attended homebirths :thumb Definitely try to find a midwife. Even this late in the game it would be worth it to ease your worry. From what I understand, if you had to transfer, the legality just means that your midwife cannot attend you to the hospital (like a midwife in WA - where I am can). It's pretty much a drop at the door type of thing (mamas in GA please correct me if I'm wrong about that).

      There's no reason for the hospital to test your baby. They would be much more likely to test you and if it's been at least a month since you last smoked at the time you give birth then you'll test clean. You could test clean as early as 2 weeks from the last time you smoked, but after a month it's virtually guaranteed. Drink a ton of water (which you should be doing anyhow) and that'll help flush it out as well.

      I think you'll be fine :hug and I also have yet to find anything showing that cannabis use during pregnancy harms babies so don't worry about your babe either. Focus on making it through the rest of your pregnancy and maybe searching for a midwife. There's also a cannabis/weed tribe in Finding Your Tribe (not in the state sections...) and you can ask questions there as well if you have any other MJ-related concerns.

      love and peace. :love

      #16; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:39:00 GMT
    • God, I just really hate this country.

      Then move. Simple as that. Make the plans and move to a country that better fits your life style and choices.

      I'm not trying to be snarky here, but if you hate living somewhere, it makes a lot of sense to create a plan to make your situation better. Ie research immigration requirements, save for the move, get jobs, etc.

      #17; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:40:00 GMT
    • Oh, and FYI KleenPee works. I don't know how safe it is in pregnancy, but I know from professional experience with clients that it works.
      #18; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:41:00 GMT
    • I think when someone says they hate their country, particularly America recently, it is just a few things about it, not the whole country. It's like "God I hate America" when they mean, "God I hate the tyranny of the CPS and the Bush administration and our health system" or whatever. Big issues that affect family life but not big enough to move, usually. Moving countries is a massive undertaking esp when you have family and friends where you live. I know this, cos my husband is American. He made that move and it isn't easy, and it isn't legal either unless you marry into the country, which is similar for many other countries. She's upset, and rightly so (the slobbering, intrusive laws can be frustrating at times). Moving just isn't as "simple as that".
      #19; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:42:00 GMT
    • I wanted to send ((((HUGS)))) and say how I am happy you have gotten support here.

      I wanted to also say that forget the drugs, the reason why you medicate is an issue..... keep going to see people till you find someone who can get this stuff out of you. You have issues. I have them too. They will not go away or be ignored. I spent 2 years in a house not able to leave. I smoke. I make no excuse for it. I am sick! I am pregnant and still I will have a smoke now and then and I hide it. I am ashamed. I think it is worse the mj but I WILL NOT do some illegal and risk my family, though I have friends, people in high jobs with lots of money, who do it. The mother judged me for smoking and I just about cracked as at least CPS will not com after me for it. My biggest fear by the way.

      I am still looking for that person who can help me heal so I stop breaking down and feeling like I "need" a smoke. I will keep looking and I will keep fighting, but I will not think I am ok, because I am not. I need help.

      I think you do too.... all this guilt can not help either of us, just another part of it all. I hope you find someone. I hope I do too.

      Blessings,

      Kimmy

      #20; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:43:00 GMT
    • Then move. Simple as that. Make the plans and move to a country that better fits your life style and choices.

      I'm not trying to be snarky here, but if you hate living somewhere, it makes a lot of sense to create a plan to make your situation better. Ie research immigration requirements, save for the move, get jobs, etc.

      Well, I love what this country was founded on, but I hate what it's turned into. I do love the country enough to stay and fight to try to get it back to its roots. I don't want to give up on this country, even though it does seem a little hopeless to get back to the point where we were when it was founded.

      #21; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:45:00 GMT
    • I'm glad you're getting support here! :hug

      I just wanted to ask... why is being on medicaid cause to test the baby for drugs? That really seems like discrimination to me.

      #22; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:46:00 GMT
    • I do know of a woman in CA who lost her baby because she tested positive for crystal meth during delivery. I believe they only tested the mom, not the baby. And I also believe they had probable cause, which was probably a complaint by the father. I don't believe that they can just randomly drug test an infant in the hospital, and I would venture that it is a huge infringement on your right to privacy.
      #23; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:46:00 GMT
    • I believe they only tested the mom, not the baby.

      Good point. Have you considered that they might test you?

      #24; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:47:00 GMT
    • I would call (or even just take the tour) of the hospital you are considering using for the birth and ask them what are ALL of the routine tests and procedures they do on the newborn. I did that just for my own knowledge and they did not say drug test... And I'm in California. Hopefully that will give you an idea of what to expect without having to raise any questions about drug testing.

      I hope you can find a therapist that will work through your social anxiety issues, too. Maybe avoiding psychiatrists and trying to find a clinical social worker or therapist will help with them wanting to just prescribe stuff. Talk therapy really can be a wonderful thing...

      Hugs to you and your little one.

      #25; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:48:00 GMT
    • When I had my DS they tested him for everything including drugs (it was hospital policy) I thought it was stupid because they did a routine drug test at my OB's office (I think in mid-pregnancy) I would stop smoking asap, and find out what your hospital policies are... oh do you know if drug exposure is considered child abuse in your state? I would defiantly check the laws on that.
      #26; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:50:00 GMT
    • did some digging this might be helpful.

      http://www.childwelfare.gov/systemwide/laws_policies/statutes/drugexposedall.pdf

      #27; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:51:00 GMT
    • I am a lawyer and used to represent parents in California involved with CPS. Here in CA it is a requirement that the mother consent when testing is requested, and yet often people do consent, even knowing they will test positive. You should have a right to refuse the testing, and even if your refusal should draw suspicion, there would need to be some other evidence to pursue the matter further. So definitely decline testing.

      Just FYI on MJ in your system. It is true that you will stop testing positive around 30-60 days after quitting. But after any strenuous exercise (like birthing a child), THC stored in your fatty tissues will be released, and you would test positive on a test given to you shortly afterward, even if you'd quit 6-12 months previously. I had this happen with a client who went to the gym and worked out, then tested positive. But the professionals understand this phenomenon, and when his levels zoomed back down for the next test, they did not consider the positive one a "dirty" test.

      Here in CA, when clients' babies tested positive for drugs, CPS took the baby into protective custody right away. When it was just the client testing positive, sometimes the baby was taken, sometimes not.

      I don't see a hospital social worker alerting on your case as being one for investigation, unless your child displays symptoms of drug withdrawal, which I've never heard of happening with MJ. I think the pps' suggestions of asking ahead of time what the routine testing procedures are, as well as getting a doula, are excellent ways to relieve some of the anxiety you're having about this issue. If you have a take-charge attitude each time you meet with your care providers, they won't blink an eyelash when later you decline things using a pp's canned statement about research and what you've deemed right for your family.

      #28; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:52:00 GMT
    • I personally do not smoke and would never consider doing so with a child inside of me. It may be your choice but it is illegal and is not worth losing my child over.

      After saying that I will tell you what I do know. My mother smoked throughout her entire pregnancy with me and I never had a health problem in the world. Therefor I have to say from experience that your child will most likely suffer no ill effects from your habit.

      #29; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:52:00 GMT
    • It is so stupid that something like this has you so stressed out. I'm so sorry you're going through this! :Hug Some things just have no business being illegal. :rolleyes I don't have anything helpful to add, I just wanted to offer my support. I do hope you find answers & peace. :grouphug
      #30; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:54:00 GMT
    • My mom had her 4th child taken from her for testing positive. She never got him back and he was adopted out.
      #31; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:55:00 GMT
    • My mom had her 4th child taken from her for testing positive. She never got him back and he was adopted out.

      Testing positive for marijuana? I find it hard to believe she didn't get him back if that's the case, she stopped using marijuana, had a stable job and home and was otherwise a fit parent. If her situation didn't mirror my own, I'm not really sure what your point is in coming here and trying to scare me with this story, though I am sorry for what happened to your mother. It seems there are other circumstances involved which you've left out for some reason.

      While I am worried he may be taken from me for a short period of time, I definitely do not think they would terminate our rights as parents altogether over something like this. Even the most anti-MJ states in the country aren't that ridiculously stupid.

      #32; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:56:00 GMT
    • I am not sure you've put the same amount of effort into researching the effects of this as it's obviously something you'd never do.

      You, and others on this board, keep talking about all the research you found that convinced you it was ok. Do you mind sharing it with me? I could find no such research. I looked, I did. Everything I found says bad idea. I'm just wondering, did I look in the wrong place or something?

      #33; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:57:00 GMT
    • Thank you Grace. I have seen a professional for these issues who only wanted to medicate me with drugs that have side effects much more severe than marijuana which didn't help nearly as much. Talking through my issues has done nothing to change my personality or anxiety levels. I am willing to live with them and force myself to cope for the sake of my child. I do wish I would have had the courage to do that sooner though.

      You might want to see a different professional. Moreover, can I add something? The side effects from mood-regulating drugs are not identical from person to person. Not everyone reacts to them precisely the same way. Some people do smoke MJ for depression, social anxiety, bipolarity, and so forth, but given the legal and personal risks, it's not worth it.

      Can I also point out something else? There are few known side effects for MJ on babies because there have been no studies. Really, can you imagine pitching the idea of having pregnant women smoke MJ to a committee or review board? "No known side effects" doesn't mean there are no side effects or no long-term consequences. Hopefully, there are no side effects, but we basically don't know that.

      The other thing is that if you continue to smoke MJ after your child's birth, you'll pass on the THC to her/him in your breastmilk or s/he will inhale secondhand smoke. You're putting her or him at risk for getting taken away by CPS every day you have pot in your house. One snarky neighbor or relative with a grudge is all it would take.

      Honestly, I feel for you about the social anxiety. Please, please see another doctor and give the medication a try when you stop BFing. Antidepressants and other mood regulators need to be taken for about six months or so, if I remember rightly, in order to work with your body. Maybe it's less, but I know there's an adjustment period.

      I realize I'll risk a fecal attack from the hate police for saying this, but if your social anxiety is serious enough and the meds would affect the baby if you BF'd, this might be one time when formula would be the better choice.

      Best of luck to you and your baby.

      #34; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:58:00 GMT
    • I dont live in the states so i dont know how all that works, but i just wanted to send you :hug

      I think its a good idea to not smoke anything while you are pregnant, we dont know how THC affects the baby *it affects Me nicely* and when you inhale smoke the oxigen supply is diminished.

      I understand that you dont want medications, and if my anxiety issues were serious i would rather smoke MJ, thats been used for ages, than using a pharmaceutical drug that maybe in two years they realize it was full of undesired effects.

      But what about other ways of coping with anxiety? How about yoga, tai chi, getting massage? When my partner is anxious i give him a good deep hand massage, and it does wonders!

      good luck!

      namaste

      #35; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:59:00 GMT
    • There was a woman here on MDC from Texas who did have CPS involvement due to marijuana use. I don't think it would be right for me to post her username, and I'm not even sure if she hangs out here anymore, but you might want to go to the Texas find your tribe. Also she used to hang out on a tribe, I think it was called MJ Mamas? Anyway this was at least a year ago so like I said I don't know if she'd still be around to help you by sharing her experience (if she was willing in the first place.)

      MJ Mamas tribe also may have more knowledge in this area for you.

      #36; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 05:00:00 GMT
    • The office I go to for prenatal care hasn't done any drug tests (or if they have, they haven't informed me of them, which I would consider odd.)

      I just wanted to share my experience with you.

      I live in Washington. My first midwife appointment with my 3rd child I was sent over to the lab for 'tests'. I didn't meet my midwife during this first appointment, only her nurse. While talking with the nurse she was filing out my lab form. She automatically put on the lab form the quad screen and the cystic fibrosis test. I declined them both. If I wouldn't have been paying attention I never would've known as she didn't ASK me if I wanted either of those.

      So I got to the lab and asked the lady at the front desk to explain to me exactly what tests were ordered...

      Oh there was a drug test. They called it something else, like a 'substance abuse screen' and it was written in initials. I didn't decline as I don't have any substance abuse issues and haven't smoked pot in years, but I was very surprised.

      That was definitely without my knowledge or consent.

      Just wanted to let you know that they very well may have screened you for drugs, and if they did your positive result may already be in your file. Did you doctor ever ask you if you were a drug user? I know mine did, as well as asking about my drinking habits. (which are non-existent. When I drink its a glass of wine with dinner on occasion) If he/she did, and you lied about it, they may already be planning on testing you at birth and testing your baby. I'd assume a positive tox screen at the beginning of pregnancy would definitely be 'probable cause'.

      If I were you I'd ask my doctor for a copy of my records (for you 'personal files') and I'd find out exactly what was in there.

      #37; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 05:01:00 GMT
    • While I am worried he may be taken from me for a short period of time, I definitely do not think they would terminate our rights as parents altogether

      and THAT is not enough to make you want to quit? Even a week without my child would leave me an emotional wreck! Not only that but you have to also remember you will then be in the system and people will be watching over all aspects of your parenting for YEARS!

      #38; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 05:02:00 GMT
    • and THAT is not enough to make you want to quit? Even a week without my child would leave me an emotional wreck! Not only that but you have to also remember you will then be in the system and people will be watching over all aspects of your parenting for YEARS!What I read in her posts, is that she HAS quit. She is worried about the THC being found in the baby's meconium/blood from her prior marijuana use.
      #39; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 05:03:00 GMT
    • I just wanted to share my experience with you.

      I live in Washington. My first midwife appointment with my 3rd child I was sent over to the lab for 'tests'. I didn't meet my midwife during this first appointment, only her nurse. While talking with the nurse she was filing out my lab form. So I got to the lab and asked the lady at the front desk to explain to me exactly what tests were ordered...

      Oh there was a drug test. They called it something else, like a 'substance abuse screen' and it was written in initials. I didn't decline as I don't have any substance abuse issues and haven't smoked pot in years, but I was very surprised.

      Same for me. During the nurse visit I had a sign a form stating that I knew the dangers of drugs (not just MJ) and that they were doing a drug test and at any time during the pregnancy they could do a random test if they suspected anything. If I refused or tested positive durning the pregnancy, I would be referred to a high-risk OB and no longer accepted in their practice.

      #40; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 05:04:00 GMT
    • A woman I used to work with, her daughter was on TN's state insurance TennCare and they tested her without her knowledge or consent and found that she had smoked pot through the pregnancy. CPS was called in and she had to submit to random drug test every week for a few months and still has unannounced visits from them.
      #41; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 05:05:00 GMT
    • I'm really interested in social welfare / Medicaid / stereotypes / benefits and the like, I do a lot of research on this generally and am even considering going back to school for an additional degree in social work.

      That said... I'm trying so hard to find a state by state guideline about Medicaid and drug testing policies, but I can't find it anywhere online. (Maybe I'm slow on the uptake but I'm usually really good at tracking down info over the net!) I wonder why it's so hard to find... are they keeping it secret on purpose? Does anyone know where I could find out about the state of CT's policies specifically? Or actually the official policies of other states too, I'm just interested in a state by state breakdown.

      #42; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 05:06:00 GMT
    • I had a baby in GA and there was no automatic testing done at the hospital. As for the miconium, he passed that in the middle of the night and the nurse wasn't particularly interested in it. She just looked and threw the diaper away. I would try not to worry about it. Especially if there's nothing in your manner or history or wrong with the baby that would lead them to be suspicious.

      I also had a midwife assist me with the birth, and I had a very positive experience. They were all about me keeping the baby with me and didn't try to take him anywhere. Maybe my momma bear instincts were dulled after 36 hours of labor, but I didn't mind them holding him and getting him cleaned up while I delivered the placenta and got stitched up. The people helping you are there to assist and will likely be very sensitive and caring. Midwives certainly aren't illegal in GA but then I don't know of anyone that's done a home birth.

      Best of luck to you in the last weeks of your pregnancy, I hope you start to feel better about this.

      #43; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 05:07:00 GMT
    • Wow. I don't have first hand knowledge, but I'm just writing to offer some support. You sound terrified. Like you, I decided after extensive research (including reading a thoughtful article here on MDC) to smoke some during pregnancy. For me it was mostly about m/s though more recently for more stomach issues (having trouble gaining weight!). I'm about as far along as you. I haven't smoked to the extent you have, but it does cross my mind that even so, a hospital-administered drug test could very well register mj.

      I'm having a home birth, also in a state where midwives can be prosecuted for practicing. Based on the level of concern in your post, I wonder if it's still possible for you to seek out a midwife, even if that midwife isn't strictly "legal." Although midwifes aren't legal here, they are definitely tolerated/respected in my town. I don't know what the climate is like where you are. Perhaps you would be less worried if you went that route?

      Like you point out, it's too late now for you to change the circumstances. Don't beat yourself up too much. You're doing right to educate yourself on what you could face. Read all paperwork, know that you can decline any test, and have confidence that you have been doing and continue to do all you can to insure the best birth (and least stressed-out mama) possible for your baby.

      #44; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:07:00 GMT
    • Have you posted in FYT area for anyone in your area of GA who knows of a midwife? At least that way you would avoid the hospital, which really, from what I hear about GA hospitals, sucks.
      #45; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:08:00 GMT
    • Have you posted in FYT area for anyone in your area of GA who knows of a midwife? At least that way you would avoid the hospital, which really, from what I hear about GA hospitals, sucks.

      What is "FYT area"? I can't find it.

      If I needed to transfer to a hospital, though, wouldn't having a homebirth make them suspect me even more of "suspicious behavior" and make a drug test more likely? After a homebirth, how long can I wait before I bring the baby in to see a pediatrician? Doesn't it take several days for the baby to pass all the meconium? I'd think only then would it be considered safe to bring the baby in because there shouldn't be any trace of THC in its urine or blood at birth, just in the placenta and meconium.

      Aside from the possibility of a drug test, I am not too worried about having a natural birth at a hospital. At this point, I don't want to do anything that is going to raise suspicion for us. We're middle-class, responsible people who no one would suspect of illegal drug use. The office I go to for prenatal care hasn't done any drug tests (or if they have, they haven't informed me of them, which I would consider odd.) I wonder what the chances are of them testing to begin with and if they do, what the chances of CPS/DHR taking custody. Don't they need a court order to take custody of the child? Wouldn't they need to show evidence of some sort of long term drug abuse or instable home environment to get such a court order? It seems like with one drug test of the baby (especially if I test clean) they wouldn't be able to prove that I was a long term abuser or anything.

      God, I just really hate this country.

      #47; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:10:00 GMT
    • Ok, I don't know what the laws are, but I'm going to say something to you based on the fact that I have a history of social anxiety and alcohol abuse, for which I am now sober.

      I know this was not your question but I just want to urge you to find someone to talk to about your issues... if your anxiety issues are so bad you are self-medicating (especially using drugs or alcohol) I want to assure you that finding a decent therapist/ counselor can help you work THROUGH these issues and let them go, and be FREE of them. I used to have social anxiety so bad that I couldn't go to work some days, but I got sober anyhow and TALKED it out. It's possible. But you have to be brave enough to face it head on, rather than just thinking it's something you have to deal with or medicate.

      I am not judging you AT ALL in fact I have compassion for you because I know how it feels to be in your shoes, feeling how you feel. However, your last comments about how it seems unfair that you could be punished for this point to a slight bit of denial in my opinion. It does not matter if you have good jobs, are upstanding citizens, etc. If you are using illegal drugs you have broken the law and may have consequences to face. Them's the facts.

      That said, if you look as good on paper as you say, there should be no reason for them to test you or your baby, so please try not to worry too much cuz that's no good for baby either.

      I hope nothing I've said comes across as judgemental, believe me I do not think you're a bad person. I feel for you and your situation. I just wanted to chime in and stress that, once you're through this situation (and I apologize, again, that I have no helpful advice to you for your actual question as I'm new to this and having my first as well)... that you address the feelings that got you into the situation to begin with. Otherwise, it will crop up again, in some other way.

      If you want to talk about the anxiety or anything feel free to PM me... I want you to know it's possible to be free of those feelings.

      :Hug, I hope everything turns out ok.

      #48; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:11:00 GMT
    • If you have your own insurance you're much less likely to have a problem. Unfortunately, if you're on medicaid, then that is, itself, often enough to deem you worth testing. But, it would likely be a blood or urine analysis on you, and neither of those will show up positive if you haven't smoked in at leas 30 days.

      So, I'd continue not smoking, anyway, until the birth. And, please, don't stress out. Odds are, you'll be fine. I know a couple of people that smoked up until the day before they went into labor, that didn't have any trouble at all... in TEXAS, which has some of the strictest anti-mj laws in the country.

      I know someone here at MDC tested positive (falsely, she said) for narcotics a while back, and had some trouble, but I can't find the thread.

      #49; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:12:00 GMT
    • I know nothing about Georgia, but here in CA, I have never heard of a random drug test for infants!

      My guess is that everything will be cool.. baby will be responsive and no tests recommended.

      I wish i had more info, but they really CAN'T randomly draw your DCs blood or stool without your knowledge - especially if you never let your child out of your sight! If they suspect drug use, they still have to come and get the baby.

      IMO, you'll be fine.. but have you and DH go to the hospital looking like what they consider "upstanding citizens" (lose the Marley tye-dye if that's your thing) and it'l be OK

      I will add my best wishes for good luck and the hopes that you take some previous posters opinions and get help...

      and of course pot in BM may continue to be a concern to you after birth - so i wish you luck in getting your anxiety under control!

      http://www.kellymom.com/health/lifestyle/marijuana.html

      whatever you chose, may your family thrive!

      #50; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:13:00 GMT
    • However, your last comments about how it seems unfair that you could be punished for this point to a slight bit of denial in my opinion. It does not matter if you have good jobs, are upstanding citizens, etc. If you are using illegal drugs you have broken the law and may have consequences to face. Them's the facts.

      Thank you Grace. I have seen a professional for these issues who only wanted to medicate me with drugs that have side effects much more severe than marijuana which didn't help nearly as much. Talking through my issues has done nothing to change my personality or anxiety levels. I am willing to live with them and force myself to cope for the sake of my child. I do wish I would have had the courage to do that sooner though.

      I realize now how freakin' stupid I've been about it. I should have quit cold turkey when I realized I was pregnant for the simple fact that what I was doing was illegal. I can't really change how stupid I've been though. I can't change the past.

      Right now I'm just trying to figure out what I can do to insure my baby isn't taken from me during the most critical time period in its life (after birth). I understand I've broken a law, but taking my baby away especially when I do not plan to have marijuana in my system or in my home until after the child is 18 and out of my house (if EVER again) seems VERY extreme and would do nothing but forever damage my child and my chance to bond with it. I don't think I'm in denial over what I've done, but I am in denial that a system could do so much more damage to my child and my family than my drug use during pregnancy ever could.

      #51; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:14:00 GMT
    • While I have no experience with this in particular, I have found that when declining tests (or anything else "routine"), it's best to do it with a smile on your face.

      "No, thanks" to fetal monitoring we don't want.

      "No, thanks" to the bath in the hospital we don't want.

      "No, thanks" to the formula we don't want.

      "No, thanks" to the HIV test we don't want.

      "No, thanks" to the vax we don't want.

      "No, thanks!" but don't forget to smile.

      If they want to know why, I just say "we've done our research, and this is the decision that we feel is right for us and our family, thank you."

      And remember, you do not ever have to let CPS into your house without an order from a judge. Just get the babe home, and chances are it will never be an issue. Early discharge from the hospital may be your best friend.

      Good Luck :Hug

      #52; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:15:00 GMT
    • :hug

      Read this case:

      http://supct.law.cornell.edu/supct/html/99-936.ZO.html

      In Ferguson v. City of Charleston, decided by the Supreme Court in 2001, the Court held that the state of South Carolina's mandatory drug testing of birthing women violated the Fourth Amendment because the searches were not based on individualized suspicion.

      Not 100% identical to your situation, but close enough to give you some idea of the legal landscape.

      Depending on where you are giving birth, the Fourth Amendment may or may not apply. It only applies to state actors, i.e., doctors/nurses who work at public hospitals and/or hospitals that are funded with public funds.

      As a legal question, it's fairly hairy on several fronts. Honestly, as a criminal defense attorney, I would say you're fine UNLESS you give someone reasons to suspect something. I can tell you that I certainly don't see or hear of criminal or DHS/CPS cases arising from *routine* drug testing of either mama or baby in my jurisdiction. Don't know about GA.

      HTH.

      #53; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:16:00 GMT
    • I'm sorry, I should have been clearer about the FYT area. It means Finding Your Tribe. Link below. :)

      http://www.mothering.com/discussions/forumdisplay.php?f=77

      #54; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:17:00 GMT
    • Thank you all. It's especially nice to know that there have been people who've had no problems in Texas and California, states where prenatal drug exposure IS considered child abuse.

      We do have our own insurance, though it's an HMO. We don't look like hippies or anything and they should have absolutely NO reason to suspect us.

      I'm trying to calm down about it, but I'm a worrier (I suspect it's part of my anxiety issues). I'm trying to convince myself that even if they do test, they will act in the best interest of my child and allow my child to remain in my custody.

      Edited to add: I also want to state that I am SO happy I found this community and wish I'd found it earlier on in my pregnancy. I cannot wait to explore it and become a true member of it. It has been so hard to find support of natural birth and natural living outside of my family, even in other communities on the internet which supposedly revolve around it.

      #55; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:18:00 GMT
    • I had a baby in GA 3 years ago. At that time I was on a form of Medicaid called "right from the start" especially for expecting mothers whose income was higher than regular Medicaid would allow but had no pre-natal coverage. I was not tested for any drugs and dd was definately not tested (no stool sample taken).

      Hope this helps ease your worry.

      #56; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:19:00 GMT
    • Wow you sound terrified. I would be too if I had a slight chance at losing my baby to cps. I guess we all sort of do and as a UC-er myself I should be ready for that hmm.

      My thought was if you *did* do home birth or UC, *if* you did need to transfer in, couldnt you just keep it quiet that you were trying to do it at home?

      I think thats what I will do if I need to go to the hospital. Just show up in labor and say :loveeyes: "it all happened so fast."

      :lol

      Good luck with everything!

      #57; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:20:00 GMT
    • I'd suggest you attempt to find a like-minded midwife as well. You would feel so much better about the potential for drug testing if you did. GA midwifery is undercover, so you will have to work a little harder to find a midwife. But, they exist. An acquaintance of mine had one last month in northern GA area, around Dahlonega.

      Good luck!

      #58; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:21:00 GMT
    • My thought was if you *did* do home birth or UC, *if* you did need to transfer in, couldnt you just keep it quiet that you were trying to do it at home?

      I think thats what I will do if I need to go to the hospital. Just show up in labor and say :loveeyes: "it all happened so fast."

      That is my current line of thinking as well, but I'm still sort of scared to try it (my pregnancy has been perfect so far and there's no reason to think anything would go wrong if we tried it at home.) As far as my provider's know, we will definitely be going to the hospital to have the baby.

      I am a little scared about having the baby at home unassisted, but I've been reading up on it and i know it's a natural, normal process which shouldn't scare me. My mom's going to be there, but I don't know how much help she'll be. She was in nursing school for a while and my grandmother was a labor/delivery nurse. My mom knows a lot about natural childbirth in theory, but not in practice. She had me via c-section due to a breech position where I refused to either turn or come out.

      #59; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:22:00 GMT
    • I live in Canada, so can't give any advice on how to deal with the laws in the States.

      I just wanted to let you know I too have seen some reports regarding mj use during pregnancy, and support your decision at the time to continue use until recently. Certainly hindsight makes you want to do things differently, but you were making informed decisions at the time, as far as you knew, so try not to beat yourself up about it! :wink

      I agree with the previous poster about if you do decide to go with a homebirth (whether UC or midwife-attended). If you end up at the hospital, just say 'wow, things are/were progressing fast! - they cant prove or wouldnt usually suspect otherwise.

      I too am about the same amount of weeks as you, and wish you all the best in the coming weeks!

      #60; Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:23:00 GMT