Will My Past Use Harm My Child?

By Dr. Robert Wallace

August 28, 2020 4 min read

DR. WALLACE: I'm 20, and my husband is 21. Two weeks ago, we received wonderful news that we will be parents in late November or early December. I'm going to do everything possible to have healthy baby. I will follow 100% of my doctor's advice.

My only worry is that, three years ago, I smoked some marijuana for a few months over that summer, but I took no other drugs. Could my marijuana smoking from back in 2017 cause my baby to have any birth defects in 2020?

Please answer my question in the newspaper. This really concerns me, and I don't want my husband to know that I smoked some pot back then because he's such a straight arrow. I'm not sure he would understand or be too happy to hear about me puffing marijuana back then. — Concerned Mom-To-Be, via email

CONCERNED MOM-TO-BE: Your brief summer encounters with marijuana three years ago would have no ill effects on any of your children at this point in your life.

Birth defects are usually caused by drugs or/or excessive alcohol, and they occur only when drugs or alcohol are used during the pregnancy. I'm very happy to hear that you are so concerned and diligent to seek the very best of health for your unborn child.


TEENS: As I'm sure you are aware, your age group is at times depicted as selfish, rebellious and oblivious. When teens do something right, it rarely seems to be news.

I'm dedicating this column to rectify that matter and inform adults of something that teenagers, I'm sure, already know. Young people volunteer their time and energy to help the needy and underprivileged at a higher rate than adults do. They also freely share their limited financial resources to help the less fortunate. Part of my work includes reading through numerous surveys and reports on various topics that are of interest to teens and families. They include government surveys, Gallup polls, university studies and so forth. In reading through these diverse sets of studies, one thing rings very clear: Teenagers do more to help others in our society than any other collective age group!

Teens often do unpaid volunteer tasks such as babysitting, assisting the handicapped or elderly, and serving as an aid or assistant to a paid employee.

A growing emphasis on community service by schools is having a huge impact on teen volunteering. Many high schools these days require a certain number of hours of community service for graduation. Other interesting facts about teen volunteerism include:

Teenagers en masse donate 1.3 billion hours of their time to worthy causes throughout a year, not just during the school session.

Teenagers volunteer because they want to do something useful and they think they'll enjoy the work.

A very high percentage of teens rate their volunteer work experience as good or very good. Less than 1% rated their experience as unacceptable or unfulfilling.

When teens are asked what would get them to volunteer again, the most frequently cited response was simply being asked to help.

Businesses and religious institutions also have a major impact on volunteering and contributing.

When it comes to volunteering, nobody does it better than teens, even during the coronavirus pandemic. Teenagers do great work to help others in our country. So, here's a big thank you to today's teenagers! We should all be proud of the time and effort they spend to help others.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.

Photo credit: Pexels at Pixabay

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