This sheet talks about exposure to Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) in pregnancy or while breastfeeding. This information should not take the place of medical care and advice from your healthcare provider.

What is LSD?

Lysergic acid diethylamide (commonly known as LSD) is a drug that causes an altered state of mind (hallucinations/delusions). Some physical effects of LSD on the body can include increased blood pressure, fast heart rate, and dilated pupils. This drug is usually taken by mouth, but can also be taken by injection (using a needle) or by inhalation (breathing it into lungs). “Acid”, “Kool-Aid”, and “Blotter Paper” are examples of slang or street names for LSD.

I took LSD.  How long should I wait to become pregnant?

LSD breaks down differently in each person. How LSD leaves the body is complicated and probably depends on the dose taken along with health and other characteristics of the person using the drug. On average, it is thought that most of the LSD is gone from the blood stream in one or two days.

Can use of LSD make it harder for me to get pregnant?

This has not been well studied.

Can use of LSD during pregnancy cause miscarriage?

The chance of having a miscarriage from using LSD is not yet known. There are some data that suggest the use of LSD might increase the chance to have a miscarriage.

Can use of LSD during pregnancy cause birth defects?

In every pregnancy, a woman starts out with a 3-5% chance of having a baby with a birth defect. This is called her background risk.

Many of the studies on LSD are very old and have different results. There are reports of babies being born with birth defects, and reports of babies born without birth defects following LSD use during pregnancy. One study of pregnant women given LSD for medical reasons did not show a link with causing birth defects. No pattern of birth defects has been reported with LSD use during pregnancy.

Can use of LSD during pregnancy cause other pregnancy complications?

This is not well studied, but it is possible. It is difficult to study how the use of LSD might affect a pregnancy. This is because people who use LSD might also have unhealthy and risky lifestyles that can result in a variety of health problems for both the mother and a pregnancy. For example, poor diet choices can lead to mothers not having enough nutrients to support a healthy pregnancy, and could increase the chance of miscarriage and premature birth. Some people who use LSD also use other drugs, such as alcohol or marijuana. These can also affect a mother’s health and a pregnancy.

Can use of LSD during pregnancy cause learning or behavioral problems for the child?

Long term studies have not been done to follow pregnancies with exposure to LSD to see if using LSD during pregnancy causes learning or behavioral problems for the child.

Can I breastfeed while taking LSD?

There is little information on the safety of using LSD while breastfeeding. Based on the molecular size of this drug, it will probably get into the breast milk. LSD should be avoided while breastfeeding for a number of reasons, including the concern that women caring for young children should not be on mind-altering drugs.  Be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about all of your breastfeeding questions.

What if the father of the baby takes LSD?

There are no confirmed reports that prior use of LSD by anyone would increase the chance of having a baby with a birth defect. In general, exposures that fathers have are unlikely to increase the risks for babies to have a birth defect or to cause other negative pregnancy outcomes. For more information, please see the MotherToBaby fact sheet on Paternal Exposures and Pregnancy at https://mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets/paternal-exposures-pregnancy/pdf/.

Selected References:

  • Aase JM, et al. 1970. Children of mothers who took LSD in pregnancy. Lancet 1:100-1.
  • Cohen MM, et al. 1968. The effect of LSD-25 on the chromosomes of children exposed in utero. Pediat Res 2:486-492.
  • Fabro S, Sieber SM. 1968. Is lysergide a teratogen? Lancet 1(7543):639.
  • Jacobson CB, Berlin CM. 1972. Possible reproductive detriment in LSD users. JAMA 222(11):1367-1373.
  • Long SY. 1972. Does LSD induce chromosomal damage and malformations? A review of the literature. Teratology 6(1):75-90.
  • McElhatton PR. 2000. Fetal effects of substances of abuse. J Toxicol Clin Toxicol; 38:194-5.
  • McGlothlin WH, et al.1970. Effect of LSD on human pregnancy. JAMA.1; 212(9):1483-7.
  • Papac DI and Foltz RL. 1990. Measurement of lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) in human plasma by gas chromatography/negative ion chemical ionization mass spectrometry. J Anal Toxicol. 14(3):189-90.
  • Robinson JT, et al. 1974. Chromosome aberrations and LSD. A controlled study in 50 psychiatric patients.  J Psychiatry. 125(0):238-44.