With the continuing legalization and cultural acceptance of cannabis consumption, questions are being raised about its safety and health concerns in multiple arenas – including whether or not it’s safe to use cannabis while trying to get pregnant or after you’ve conceived.
In the world of fertility specialists, the answer to the questions, “can I use cannabis while trying to conceive,” or “can I use marijuana while I’m pregnant,” is a resounding “No.”
There are several reasons why we encourage women and their partners to abstain from marijuana, THC, and other forms of cannabis use while they’re trying to get pregnant and during pregnancy. First and foremost, there simply isn’t enough scientific data to speak absolutely in either direction. Also, the body of evidence slowly accruing regarding cannabis, conception/pregnancy, and fetal health has conflicting results. So, we feel it’s always better to err on the side of caution.
Erring on the side of safety and the positive “knowns” of a conception-healthy lifestyle – and abstaining from mind-altering substances that could affect fertility hormone balances or cross the placenta barrier and directly affect the fetus – are tried-and-true methods for supporting conception and full-term pregnancy.
Here are some of the factors that drive our recommendations to remain THC-free while trying to conceive and during pregnancy.
Almost all of the data does confirm that smoking THC regularly negatively impacts sperm production and motility/morphology. Men who smoke marijuana tend to have lower sperm counts, and their sperm may have a more challenging time swimming well. Also, THC’s relaxing effects may impact male libido, which further complicates things.
A recent study from the NIH found that women who smoked or consumed cannabis in the weeks they tried to get pregnant “…were around 40% less likely to conceive per monthly cycle than women who did not use cannabis.” The study also shows women who use cannabis had differences in hormones related to ovulation.
We’ve long said that using tobacco is a big no-no if you want to start a family. Tobacco products are proven to cause higher miscarriage rates, increase the risk of premature birth and lower birth weights, and negatively impact a baby’s health. However, research also shows that women who use tobacco products and consume marijuana have significantly shorter luteal phases, making it more challenging to conceive.
Recent studies have also drawn a correlation between chronic marijuana use and irregular periods or lack of ovulation in non-human primates. Regular ovulation is essential for timing intercourse for pregnancy, so anything that could interrupt a regular menstrual cycle should be avoided at all costs.
We understand that other studies, like a recent BU study, advertise there doesn’t seem to be a link between marijuana and infertility. However, we aren’t entirely sold. There is simply too much conflicting data from other studies to feel sure cannabis should get the green light.
As Kansas City’s leading fertility treatment center, we’re more interested in doing all that we can to support our patients’ fertility goals and dreams. We’ve had the highest fertility treatment and IVF success rates of any clinic in our area for decades now. During that time, we’ve always held that healthy lifestyle choices, including abstaining from tobacco, alcohol, and recreational drugs like cannabis, are essential for healthy family building.
Why not do all you can to support a healthy pregnancy body, focusing on all the things you can do while TTC? That includes:
- Eating well and exercising regularly
- Removing toxins known to affect hormone balance from your life
- Reducing stress and creating nourishing relaxation practices
- Knowing when it’s time to seek extra fertility support
The team at the Reproductive Resource Center believes in a whole-body approach to fertility health. That includes making healthy lifestyle choices, giving up any substances that could negatively impact conception and pregnancy, and focusing on a customized fertility approach. Contact us to schedule a consultation with fertility specialists who prioritize your overall health and wellbeing.