Dozens of babies were born to Sheffield mothers who took cannabis while pregnant – because they thought it was less harmful than other drugs.
Last year 77 babies were born to mothers who had admitted they used cannabis in pregnancy.
The women didn’t consider it to be as dangerous or damaging as heroin and cocaine, says a report by Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board.
Professionals working with families do a masterclass so they can understand the harm that cannabis use causes.
So far, at least 420 professionals have attended the masterclass and more classes are planned for 2020.
The report says: “Data indicated that a significant number of parents and pregnant women were misusing cannabis, but not accessing the non-opiate service.
“It appeared that cannabis was not considered to be as dangerous or damaging as other drug misuse, eg heroin and cocaine.
“This resulted in the development of masterclasses to ensure increased awareness.
“Data also showed that few referrals were being made into the What About Me service, which aims to support children affected by someone else’s drug or alcohol use.
“Consequently, information was provided to partner agencies who were encouraged to refer cases. The data now shows there has been an increase in referrals to this service.”
Pregnant women are offered support if they are drinking or using drugs and the Jessop Wing employs special midwives who work intensively with those who are involved in substance misuse.
Coun Jackie Drayton, Cabinet member for children and families at Sheffield Council, said: “It’s so important for expectant mums or those who are hoping to become pregnant to keep themselves well and know what the potential harms are to their unborn child if they misuse cannabis.”
Anyone with concerns about cannabis use can call 0114 272 1481 to speak confidently to a trained worker.
The Non-Opiate Service at 44 Sidney Street works with all groups, including bespoke packages of support for pregnant women.
A ‘Keep Safe’ cannabis leaflet for parents, given out by childrens’ services, shows people where they can find treatment service non-opiate based drugs.