Is CBD Safe for Pregnant and Breastfeeding Moms?

The CBD industry has boomed in recent years and now appears on the shelves of health supplement stores and in online shopping carts alongside other consumer goods. Like with any other trend in health products, many pregnant and breastfeeding moms wonder whether CBD products are safe – for both themselves and their babies.

More research is needed as CBD products, information, and research become more widely available, so consult your obstetrician about your decision to use CBD oil. In the meantime, let’s look at the potential benefits of CBD oil and whether it’s safe for pregnant and breastfeeding moms.

What is CBD and its Potential Benefits?

CBD, or cannabidiol, is one of more than 100 cannabinoids, which are among the active compounds in the cannabis or hemp plant. Potential benefits of CBD include relief from nausea, anxiety, insomnia, lower back pain, depression, and a variety of other symptoms.


An important distinction to make when considering CBD oil and other products is the source of the CBD and the existence of other compounds in the product you buy. CBD isolate, for example, contains only CBD with no other cannabinoids or compounds like terpenes and flavonoids, which may be present in full-spectrum CBD oil.

If pregnant or breastfeeding moms want to avoid ingesting THC, another well-known cannabinoid in cannabis plants, they may choose CBD to isolate instead of a full spectrum CBD oil. This is especially true for any mothers who may undergo drug testing, as pure CBD isolate does not contain THC. Neither the mother nor her baby would have the THC compound present in their system as a result.

Moms may choose full-spectrum oil for the “entourage effect” that users experience from these products. This is the synergistic interaction between CBD and other cannabinoids and active compounds from the hemp or cannabis plant, which can strengthen the beneficial effects of the CBD product.

According to a study, the average THC-dominant cannabis strain contains 8% to 30% of THC. This pales in comparison to the 0.3% THC found in full-spectrum CBD oil legalized by the 2018 U.S. Farm Bill. If you’re worried about using full-spectrum CBD oil while pregnant or breastfeeding, the amount of THC you’re consuming is minimal compared to the potential health benefits you’ll experience.

Pregnant and breastfeeding moms should also research reputable CBD brands, as inferior products can often be tainted with other chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides, bacteria, and other harmful substances that could harm the baby.

Is CBD Safe for Moms and Their Babies?

You can easily find a wealth of anecdotal evidence that CBD can have benefits for pregnant and breastfeeding moms. And many of these women also report few to no noticeable negative side effects for themselves or their babies.

However, because this support for CBD products is anecdotal rather than clinical, every individual should make a well-informed and researched decision that also involves a conversation with their doctors.

Existing clinical research has begun to examine the impacts of cannabis usage for pregnant, and breastfeeding mothers and particularly their children and any longer-term impacts the mother’s usage may have on their child. It’s important to note that much of this existing research focuses on cannabis as a whole or focuses on THC rather than discussing the effects of CBD specifically on pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and their babies.

Some Studies and Their Findings Include

  • Maternal cannabis usage does correlate with low birth weight and preterm delivery at less than 37 weeks of gestation, but when researchers adjusted the data for tobacco use and other confounding factors, cannabis was no longer considered “an independent risk factor for adverse neonatal outcomes” (Conner et al., 2016)
  • THC can cross the placenta (Bailey et al., 1987)
  • THC is secreted in breast milk and can accumulate to high concentrations (Garry et al., 2009)
  • In a group of Jamaican mothers and their babies, no significant differences between babies exposed or unexposed to cannabis during gestation occurred (Dreher et al., 1994)

This is exactly why more CBD-specific research is needed and why the distinction between CBD isolate and full-spectrum CBD products are critical for pregnant and breastfeeding mothers to know when considering which CBD oil will have the most impact on their lives. If you want to get the most from CBD while pregnant or breastfeeding, choosing a full-spectrum CBD oil is the best way to benefit from the synergy between your body and the oil.

As always, consult with your obstetrician to ensure you’re getting the best advice possible during and after your pregnancy for your individual situation.