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Cannabis Use May Be Tied to More Difficulty Conceiving

Findings based on women with a history of pregnancy loss attempting pregnancy

FRIDAY, Jan. 22, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Women with a history of miscarriage and who use marijuana may have a more difficult time conceiving a child, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in Human Reproduction.

Sunni L. Mumford, Ph.D., from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues followed 1,228 women (aged 18 to 40 years) with a history of pregnancy loss for up to six cycles while attempting pregnancy (2006 to 2012). Baseline surveys assessed self-reported preconception cannabis, and urinary tetrahydrocannabinol metabolites were measured throughout preconception and early pregnancy.

The researchers found that preconception cannabis use was 5 percent based on combined urinary metabolite measurements and self-report, which dropped to 1.3 percent during the first eight weeks of gestation based only on urinary metabolites. Fecundability was reduced for women with preconception cannabis use (odds ratio [OR], 0.59; 95 percent confidence interval [CI], 0.38 to 0.92). Frequency of intercourse per cycle was increased with preconception cannabis use (9.4 versus 7.5 days) and higher luteinizing hormone (percentage change, 64 percent) and a higher luteinizing hormone:follicle-stimulating hormone ratio (percentage change, 39 percent). There was a trend toward anovulation (relative risk [RR], 1.92; 95 percent CI, 0.88 to 4.18) and live birth (RR, 0.80; 95 percent CI, 0.57 to 1.12). There were no associations noted between preconception cannabis use and pregnancy loss (RR, 0.81; 95 percent CI, 0.46 to 1.42). When adjusting for parity, income, employment status, and stress, results were similar.

“These results highlight potentially harmful associations between cannabis use and reproductive health outcomes, and the need for expanded evidence regarding the effects of cannabis use on reproductive health in the current climate of increasing legalization,” the authors write.

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