Many people view smoking as a fad, a habit that sort of keeps them ‘entertained’ and helps them to relieve their stress levels. The challenge however comes in when a woman gets pregnant or is trying to conceive. While the long term effects of this habit are known to many, it remains a challenge to actually stop altogether.
How Smoking Affects Fertility
Studies indicate that women (and also men) who smoke are more likely to experience infertility than non-smokers because smoking affects every stage of the reproduction process – in both men and women.
Women who smoke take longer to get pregnant than non-smokers.
- DNA (genetic material) in eggs and sperm
- Men’s and women’s hormone production
- The fertilized egg’s ability to reach the uterus
- The environment inside the uterus, where the baby grows.
On the other hand, smoking during pregnancy affects the following:
- Increases the risk of low birth weight.
- Puts the baby at greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
- Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely than other women to have a miscarriage and to give birth to a baby with birth defects such as cleft lip or palate.
Smoking while breastfeeding also has its effects. These include:
- Babies and children who are exposed to cigarette smoke are at a higher risk of contracting illnesses such as pneumonia, asthma, ear infections, bronchitis, sinus infections and eye irritation.
- Colic occurs more often in babies whose mothers smoke. Heavy smoking by breastfeeding moms occasionally causes nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and diarrhoea.
- Children who are exposed to passive smoke in the home have lower blood levels and the good cholesterol that helps protect them against coronary artery disease.
Though it can be difficult to give up on the benefit, there are many benefits that come with it.
The following tips can help you to finally put a stop to the habit:
- Make a Quit Plan – Having a plan can make you sail through the days easily.
- Keep yourself occupied. This will ensure that your thoughts are distracted by meaningful activities hence you won’t have time to think of lighting up a cigar.
- Avoid Smoking Triggers– Triggers are the people, places, things, and situations that set off your urge to smoke.
- Stay Positive – Quitting smoking is a difficult process but if one is committed to do so they will manage.
- Seek help when you need it -Do not shy away from even going for therapy if that is what will help you overcome the habit.
Please note that development differs from one child to another.
Content intended for educational purposes only, and not a substitute for medical advice from your doctor.
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Last reviewed March 2019
Sources: webmd, verywellfamily, yourfertility, kellymom,nhs