Can Smoking Really Affect My Chances Of Getting Pregnant
Did you know that up to 13% of infertility might be caused by smoking? As a Reproductive Endocrinologist and Infertility specialist, I want my patients to be as healthy as possible prior to attempting pregnancy. While most people are well aware smoking can lead to cancer, lung disease, and heart disease, they are not aware of the significant impact smoking has on fertility.
Below are common questions about smoking and fertility health.
How does smoking affect a womans fertility?
We know smoking and even second-hand smoke can have a huge impact on fertility in women. Smoking is associated with miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, infertility, and early menopause. In a study published in Fertility and Sterility in 2000 by Hull and associates, data from nearly 15,000 pregnancies were evaluated. In their study, women who smoked experienced infertility 54% more often compared to nonsmokers. Even people who only had exposure to secondhand smoke had significantly lower pregnancy rates.
How does smoking affect a mans fertility?
How does smoking affect fertility treatment success?
Smokers undergoing fertility treatment are less likely to respond to the medications, so they require higher doses of medications-which translates to higher costs. Smokers also have fewer eggs retrieved, more cycles where no eggs fertilize, and a higher number of cancelled IVF cycles compared to nonsmokers. The negative effects of smoking on IVF success seem to become worse as a woman ages.
Exacerbates Existing Infertility Factors
THC can negatively impact existing infertility issues because of the confusion cannabis causes in the bodys biophysical communication processes. The endocannabinoid system influences almost every aspect of the female reproductive system, from hormone levels and ovulation to tubal transport and the implantation of fertilized eggs into the uterine lining.
The presence of external THC can hinder any inconsistencies or irregularities caused by existing infertility factors, such as PCOS, thyroid issues, or difficulty producing a thick, rich endometrial layer.
Brain Development And Mental Health Problems During Childhood
Thereâs increasing evidence that weed exposure may disrupt normal brain development of a fetus. Impulse control and hyperactivity as well as challenges with visual and spatial reasoning have been linked to exposure to weed in the womb.
Your childâs long-term mental health is at risk, too. Research shows that babies whose parents used weed while pregnant are more likely than others to be anxious and aggressive between ages 3 and 6.
Recommended Reading: What Laxatives Are Safe For Pregnancy
Does Marijuana Impact Male Fertility
If youre reading this with a male partner and hes over there thinking hes off the hook, not so fast. If marijuanas impact on female fertility is a bit of a gray area, its pretty black and white when it comes to male fertility. Several research studies have shown that cannabis use can reduce the number of healthy sperm a man produces, can change the shape of the sperm, and can even reduce a sperms ability to fertilize an egg. There has been research done in this area for years, and the effects of cannabis on sperm were so evident that there is even research being done on the use of cannabis as a male contraceptive! So when it comes to weed and trying to conceive, it turns out whats good for the goose is good for the gandereveryone should abstain.
Can Weed Affect Fertility
Its understood that weed should be avoided during pregnancy but what about before? Well, there are a couple of studies that show that weed can affect the fertility of either party.
Felice Gersh, MD, OB/GYN, founder/director of the Integrative Medical Group of Irvine told WebMD that marijuana can affect fertility. Gersh says weed can lower the potential to conceive. The reason that may be true is due to the relationship between the endocannabinoid system and the reproductive system.
Gersh said, The sex hormones and our own endocannabinoids up and down-regulate each other throughout the menstrual cycle to facilitate reproductive success. Anything interfering with that complex feedback system will negatively impact fertility.
According to an article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal , the endogenous endocannabinoid system is also found in the reproductive systems. Therefore, weed can impact the organs in these systems.
However, for the majority of couples, weed probably wont cause fertility problems. As a matter of fact, a 2018 study examined the time to pregnancy for stoners. To be clear, time to pregnancy is defined as the number of months of unprotected intercourse that elapse before conception occurs.
The study concluded, suggests that neither marijuana use nor the frequency of marijuana use was associated with time to pregnancy for men and women.
Don’t Miss: How Do I Know Im Pregnant On Birth Control
How Cigarette Smoking Affects Fertility
When it comes to cigarette smoking and fertility, the science is clear: smoking is linked to higher rates of infertility. Once pregnant, smoking is a risk factor for serious complications during pregnancy and for fetal health .
Women who smoke cigarettes have higher rates of infertility and take longer to conceive. They also may experience menopause earlier earlier than those who do not smoke. Women who smoke also have an increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy, which is when a fertilized egg grows outside the uterus.
Recommended Reading: Giving Plasma While Pregnant
What Are The Risks Of Using Weed During Pregnancy
There are more than 400 active chemicals in cannabis, some of which cross the placenta and enter the babys brain and tissue. Most research has focused on tetrahydrocannabinol , the primary psychoactive component of marijuana, and cannabidiol , the primary non-psychoactive component. After a pregnant woman uses weed, the amount of THC in her babys blood is about a third to a tenth of the level in her own blood. And CBD has been found to increase the placentas permeability, allowing for THC and other foreign substances to pass into the babys blood more easily.
Studying the effects of marijuana exposure on pregnant women and their children is complicated by the fact that women who use cannabis often use tobacco and other drugs, which makes it challenging to tease out the effects of the different substances and results in findings that are often conflicting and inconclusive.
The evidence is continuing to grow, says Jamie Seabrook, an associate professor in the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at Brescia University College and one of the authors of the Ontario study. Marijuana is being consumed during pregnancy across all levels of education and income, and regardless of socioeconomic status its having a huge effect on low birth weight, even after adjusting for tobacco smoking.
The effects probably arent huge from what we can see now, but it doesnt mean that theyre not going to impact somebodys life in a negative way, Cook says.
Don’t Miss: Can You Get Pregnant 5 Days After Ovulation
Can You Become Infertile From Smoking Weed
The research is not conclusive, but some studies suggest that smoking weed may affect fertilityespecially in men. These studies have linked marijuana use with factors that can influence male fertility, including :
- Reduced sperm motility
- Reduced sperm count and concentration
- Poor sperm morphology
- Reduced sexual performance or desire
Other side effects of chronic marijuana use for men may include erectile dysfunction , low libido , and potential changes in reproductive hormones . In women, chronic cannabis use may affect monthly menstrual cycles .
Are More Women Using Marijuana While Pregnant
Yes. Marijuana use in pregnancy has become increasingly common, putting more babies at risk of exposure. Nationally, self-reported marijuana use among pregnant women nearly doubled between 2002 and 2017, from 3.4 percent to 7 percent overall and from nearly 6 percent to 12 percent in the first trimester. Researchers estimate that today about 1 in 20 women uses weed during pregnancy, and usage is even higher among young women 18 to 25 years old.
Legalization of marijuana in many states may be contributing to the uptick. Stories on social media about women using marijuana during pregnancy to relieve pregnancy symptoms may also be influencing the increase. Although thereâs no evidence that marijuana is safe or effective at treating pregnancy-related issues, women have reported using weed for morning sickness, anxiety, and stress. Unfortunately, these anecdotes can give the mistaken impression that pot use during pregnancy is safe.
Cannabis dispensaries may be adding to pregnant womenâs confusion about weed, recommending it for use in pregnancy and directly contradicting the warnings of medical experts. In one study, researchers posing as pregnant women called 400 randomly selected cannabis dispensaries, and more than two-thirds of dispensaries recommended using marijuana for morning sickness.
Also Check: Can You Sign Up For Aflac While Pregnant
Your Personalized Journey To Motherhood
Unlock your personalized program to get the best guidance on your journey to motherhood with Flo Premium
Women who smoke marijuana may increase their likelihood of infertility and may be increasing their risk of a miscarriage. Marijuana crosses the placenta and may affect the fetus, although specific studies aren’t readily available on the precise impact on the baby.
You may want to abstain from marijuana or THC while pregnant or trying to get pregnant to eliminate any possible negative side effects.
Nih Study Suggests Using Cannabis While Trying To Conceive May Reduce Pregnancy Chances
Women who use marijuana could have a more difficult time conceiving a child than women who do not use marijuana, suggests a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health. Marijuana use among the womens partners which could have influenced conception rates was not studied. The researchers were led by Sunni L. Mumford, Ph.D., of the Epidemiology Branch in NIHs Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The study appears in Human Reproduction.
The women were part of a larger group trying to conceive after one or two prior miscarriages. Women who said they used cannabis products marijuana or hashish in the weeks before pregnancy, or who had positive urine tests for cannabis use, were around 40% less likely to conceive per monthly cycle than women who did not use cannabis. The authors noted that although the findings suggest cannabis could affect womens fertility, they should be tempered with caution as the study observed a relatively small number of cannabis users. However, the authors say their results suggest that women trying to conceive should exercise caution with cannabis use until more definitive evidence is available.
A total of 62 women either had a positive urine test or responded that they had used cannabis before conception.
The paper can be found online after publication at:
NIHTurning Discovery Into Health®
Recommended Reading: What To Use For Uti When Pregnant
What Are The Potential Health Effects Of Using Marijuana During My Pregnancy
Although more research is needed to better understand how marijuana may affect you and your baby during pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant persons do not use marijuana.3,4
- Some research shows that using marijuana while you are pregnant can cause health problems in newborns, including lower birth weight and abnormal neurological development.1
- Breathing marijuana smoke can also be bad for you and your baby. Secondhand marijuana smoke contains many of the same toxic and cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke.5 THC, the psychoactive or mind-altering compound in marijuana, may also be passed to infants through secondhand smoke.6
Neonatal Outcomes: Effect Of Cannabis Use
Compared with the babies of women who had never used cannabis, the infants of women who continued to use cannabis at 15 weeks had lower mean values for birthweight , head circumference , birth length , and gestational age . Neonatal outcomes for babies of women who quit before or during early pregnancy were not significantly different from those for infants of women who had never used cannabis . The difference in birthweight associated with continued use of cannabis was similar to that for babies of mothers who smoked up to nine cigarettes per day or more at 15 weeks.
Evalues for the association between continued cannabis use and adverse perinatal outcomes ranged between 1.74 for birthweight and 2.58 for gestational age. This means that the risk ratio, after adjusting for measured covariates, for an unmeasured confounder associated with both cannabis use and the outcome would need to be 1.74 in the case of birthweight or 2.58 in the case of gestational age to reduce the aMDs associated with cannabis use to zero .
Recommended Reading: When Is It The Easiest Time To Get Pregnant
The Impact Of Smoking On Fertility
If you’re planning on getting pregnant soon, it’s important to know that smoking has been connected to a range of , including an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and damage to egg quality.
So while quitting smoking before pregnancy can remove risk factors for your baby, it can also help increase your chances of getting pregnant in the first place.
More Research Is Needed To Better Understand The Effects Of Marijuana
All things considered, health experts agree that we definitely need more research on marijuanas health effects.
Given the climate of legalization of marijuana, I do foresee a likely increase in research addressing not only the effects on fertility but also pregnancy outcome from fetuses exposed in utero to the effects of cannabis on their structural, neurological, and intellectual functioning, Gaither said.
Experts hope to also understand what happens when you stop using marijuana along with the drugs potential benefits.
Research is needed to see if perhaps there can be any as yet unrecognized benefits for select couples. Perhaps it can improve sleep and lower stress in small amounts and improved fertility for some, Gersh said.
The biggest challenge researchers currently face is that it can be difficult to quantify the amount or concentration of THC people are exposed to, according to Ilnitsky.
Self-reported data can be largely inaccurate, especially with large population-based studies.
In the meantime, if youre planning to conceive, Ilnitsky recommends cleaning up your lifestyle eat healthier, exercise regularly, and restrain from drinking and smoking.
When it comes to marijuana use, its best to err on the side of caution.
My advice would be to just avoid it if possible, Ilnitsky said in the podcast.
Also Check: How Can I Know If I Am Pregnant
Makes It Harder To Get Pregnant
When you’re trying to have a baby, you want to stack the odds in your favor. Eliminating anything that might make it less likely for you to conceive is important.
There are some things that can make it harder to get pregnant that you can’t change, such as advanced age or a medical condition you may face. But you can make healthy choices, like skipping the weed, that help prepare your body for successful conception. “Even if you’re perfectly healthy, you don’t necessarily get pregnant every time you try,” notes Dr. June. “It’s best to abstain from anything that will make it harder.”
Does Weed Cause Female Infertility
Whether its ingested as an edible/oil or inhaled from a joint/vape, THC absorbs quickly into the bloodstream and spreads throughout the body. This includes the uterus, fallopian tubes and anterior pituitary, which all have endocannabinoid receptors.
A 2021 review highlighted the various ways that marijuana can hurt your odds when trying to conceive:
You May Like: Getting Braces While Pregnant
Also Check: How To Prepare Body For Pregnancy After 35
I May Already Be Pregnant Am I Too Late To Stop Smoking
No. Its never too late. Every extra day your baby develops in the womb without poisons from cigarette smoke will make a big difference to your health in pregnancy and beyond.
Stopping smoking during pregnancy reduces the risk of your baby being ill in the first month of life.
This does not mean that smoking in the first trimester is safe. The earlier you stop smoking the healthier you and your baby will be.
Is It Harmful To Use Marijuana Before Pregnancy
Yes. Before pregnancy, using marijuana can affect your fertility and make it hard for you to get pregnant. Marijuana can affect:
- Hormones that your body needs to get pregnant. Hormones are chemicals made by the body.
- Your menstrual cycle. This is the process of your ovaries releasing an egg every month.
- A mans sperm count . A mans sperm fertilizes a womans egg to begin a pregnancy.
Also Check: What To Do When You Are Planning To Get Pregnant
What Did Your Study Find About Marijuanas Impact On Male Fertility
In the study of 409 young male patients seeking an infertility evaluation, we found that a certain part of the marijuana compound had affinity to latch or bind to receptors on the sperms structure, altering its shape and function, which can ultimately decrease fertility in men. Interestingly, the negative impact on sperm function was seen in both current and past marijuana users. We dont know how long men need to stop using marijuana a week? a month? in order to reverse sperm function. So, more studies are warranted to determine if marijuanas affects are long-lasting.
Can You Use Cannabis While Breastfeeding
In order to limit potential risk to the infant, breastfeeding parents should not use cannabis or cannabis-containing products in any form, says Merhi.
The current data available regarding the safety of cannabis use while breastfeeding is limited. However, we do know two chemicals in cannabis Tetrahydrocannabinol and cannabidiol have the potential to affect the neurodevelopment of an infant. THC, in particular, can be passed on to a breastfeeding infant through breast milk, Merhi says.
Data on the effects of CBD exposure to an infant through breast milk are limited and conflicting, but we do know CBD products may contain other contaminants, like bacteria or pesticides that could be dangerous to the parent and baby, Merhi says.
While more research is needed, the science so far shows enough of a risk that breastfeeding parents should not use cannabis while nursing, Merhi says.
Donât Miss: Can I Donate Eggs While Pregnant
Recommended Reading: When Should You See Doctor When Pregnant