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I’m pregnant and my partner smokes weed. Will it affect our baby?

Cathy Ashwin

If you’re worried about your partner’s habit affecting the genes he’s passed on to your baby, it’s reassuring to know that this is unlikely to be a problem. But this doesn’t mean that there’s no reason for concern.

If you’re living with your partner, his habit may be harming you and your baby. That’s because you’re inhaling the smoke from his joints when he smokes in the house or around you. When you smell or breathe in second-hand cannabis smoke, it can affect you just the same as if you smoked it yourself.

If you inhale cannabis while you’re pregnant, the drug can pass to your baby through the placenta. This may affect your baby’s brain, leading to problems with hyperactivity and learning as he grows.

If your partner smokes weed with tobacco, this is even more harmful for your baby. Even if your partner smokes in another room or out of an open window or door, you and your baby will still be breathing in the toxins. Breathing in second-hand tobacco and weed smoke may lead to your baby being born earlier and with a lower birth weight than expected. Both these problems may mean your baby needs extra hospital care when he’s born.

Try not to worry if you’ve just smelled the odd whiff of weed here or there during your pregnancy. This tiny amount of exposure is very unlikely to have harmed your baby. But if your partner regularly smokes weed in your home, or you spend lots of time around people who are smoking it, now’s the time to make a change.

Many women might have been around smokers before even realising they are pregnant. The best thing you can do is avoid second-hand smoke from now on. No matter how far along you are in your pregnancy, you and your baby will benefit straight away and it will give your baby a better start in life.

How can I persuade my partner to quit smoking weed?

A good place to start is by talking to him about how his habit is affecting your unborn child. This information alone may be enough to encourage him to quit. If not, make sure that he keeps his smoking outside. Keep the windows and doors shut too while he smokes outdoors.

Of course, quitting can be easier said than done. If your partner is up for it, you could suggest that he contacts his GP for help. She can help to put him in touch with local services designed specially to help people give up. There’ll be no judgement, and he won’t get in trouble for admitting that he smokes weed.

If you don’t feel able to talk to your partner about it, or have any worries about your home life, talk to your midwife. She’ll be able to support you in finding ways to make your pregnancy as healthy as possible. You’ll find lots of help and advice from mums-to-be in the BabyCentre community.

You can also get confidential, extra support from Talk to Frank. This service offers friendly, confidential advice about all kinds of legal and illegal drugs. Tel: 0300 123 6600; text: 82111.

If your partner smokes weed, you may be wondering how it might affect your pregnancy. Our expert explains the effects of smelling or inhaling second-hand weed smoke while pregnant. – BabyCentre UK

Will smoking cannabis affect our chances of conceiving?

Amin Gafar

Fertility treatment expert

Cannabis use has been linked with infertility in both women and men. So whether it’s you, your partner or both who are taking it, it may well make it harder for you to conceive.

In women, cannabis can disrupt ovulation and affect an embryo’s ability to implant itself and develop in the womb (uterus).

Research suggests that cannabis can affect the creation of healthy sperm, and may lead to a lower sperm count. Cannabis can also change the size, shape and movement of sperm. Misshapen sperm are less able to swim in a straight line, so are less likely to reach and fertilise your egg.

All of this suggests that you’ll improve your chances of conceiving if you stop taking cannabis. Wait until it has left both your system and your partner’s system, before trying to conceive.

It takes a man’s body three whole months to make new sperm. So it’s best to wait for this long after your partner last takes cannabis before trying to conceive. However, the time cannabis will take to clear your body depends on how much you have used, and for how long.

If you only smoke cannabis occasionally, the drug will take a few days to exit your system. If you’re a regular user, it will take two weeks to a month. If you’ve been smoking a lot of cannabis for a long time, it won’t leave your system for at least two months to three months.

If you give up cannabis while trying to conceive, don’t start using it again once you’re pregnant. Smoking cannabis isn’t safe for your baby. Studies have suggested that it may cause your baby to have a low birth weight, or to develop attention deficit problems when she’s older.

Cannabis is normally combined with tobacco, which is also harmful to your unborn baby, even in small amounts. It’s best if both you and your partner quit smoking completely. Second-hand smoke is also dangerous for your baby’s health.

Remember that cannabis isn’t manufactured legally. It could therefore be contaminated with pesticides or other unknown substances, which may pose even bigger risks to you and your baby.

If you’re smoking or taking any kind of illegal drugs, talk to your GP. She can give you confidential care and support before you conceive and throughout your pregnancy.

If you’re trying for a baby, you probably know that what you put into your body can affect your chances of conception. Learn how cannabis may affect fertility. – BabyCentre UK