Smoking And Female Fertility
Many medical studies have shown that smoking can reduce a woman's chances of getting pregnant. Furthermore, a woman doesn't have to be an active smoker to feel the effects of nicotine on her fertility; she may struggle to conceive even if her male partner or the people around her smoke. Research from the United Kingdom has found that smoking couples are twice as likely not to have had a baby than non-smoking couples after five years of having unprotected sex. So if you are a female smoker, or the partner of a man who smokes, or you're breathing in other people's smoke on a regular basis, then you need to eliminate cigarettes from your life as soon as possible if you want improve your chances of having a baby.
How Does Smoking Damage Your Fertility?
Medical researchers agree that smoking women often take a longer time to get pregnant than women who don't smoke. One study in the United States attributed 13 percent of all infertility cases to smoking. Furthermore, based on evidence that nicotine reduces ovulation and fertilization in animals, the current medical thinking is that a human female who smokes produces fewer healthy eggs than a non-smoking woman. She is also likely to have shorter menstrual cycles and is at a higher risk of contracting diseases such as cervical cancer and pelvic inflammatory disease, which can damage fertility. Other complications include abnormal functioning of the fallopian tubes and, when an egg is fertilized, a reduced rate of successful embryo implantation. As if this wasn't bad enough; some researchers believe that the effects of passive smoking on a woman's reproductive system can be just as devastating as those of actively smoking cigarettes! It's also worth remembering that fertility treatment has a higher failure rate among women who smoke. So really, giving up is the only sensible option for couples who are serious about having children - and that means both partners!
The more you smoke and the longer you smoke, the harsher the consequences for your fertility. That means that it's never too late to give up and the indications are that the damage done to the reproductive system can be reversed, to some degree, when a woman stops absorbing those nasty cigarette chemicals into her body. Speak to your medical provider for support and advice about quitting. Your doctor will be only too happy to help you give up, but the hard work is up to you. Check out our section on giving up smoking for tips on different methods and their effectiveness.
And If I Don't Quit?
If you don't stop smoking and you do get pregnant, you are risking the life of your baby not to mention his or her future health. Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to lose their babies through miscarriage or spontaneous abortion. They are also more likely to give birth prematurely and produce babies with short and long-term health problems; some of them potentially very serious. The time to quit is now.