Can e-cigarettes cause infertility and is it a safer method for expecting mothers?

RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA TV) - In a new study, mice were exposed to vapor from electronic cigarettes five times a week on a regular basis. After four months of testing, researchers found the exposed mice experienced significant delays in pregnancy and conception, a correlation doctors want to alert patients about.

Dr. Heather Moline is an OB/GYN at Rapid City Medical Center.

"There is a very strong correlation between tobacco use and infertility, so for both men and women rates of fertility are significantly decreased when nicotine exposure is involved in the process. Flavored vaping, aerosolized fluids can reduce sperm motility," said Moline.

There's a misconception that using e-cigarettes while pregnant is safe, and Dr. Moline says anyone on their fertility journey should try to avoid nicotine at all costs.

"I'd say in my practice I have seen in the last couple of years people making that switch thinking that they're doing something good, and in fact, it is not a safe alternative," stated Moline.

And for a growing fetus exposed to nicotine or tobacco smoke, there are a number of risks.

"Pre-term delivery, low birth rate, of brain and lung abnormalities, increased risk of developing allergies and asthma as a young person, and an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)," said Moline.

Moline said most expecting mothers are receptive to quitting and there are resources available to help.

Anyone having a difficult time quitting should reach out to the South Dakota Quitline, which provides financial assistance and counseling for expectant mothers.