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Smoking and Its Effects on Fertility

We all know that smoking is bad for your health. But, how bad is smoking if you are looking to become pregnant? Right off the bat, you know what we are going to say… QUIT SMOKING! It’s a bad habit. It’s not good for you. It causes lung cancer… The list goes on and on. If you are currently a smoker, you may have tried to kick the habit before and failed. The reality of your addiction overwhelmed your motivation for quitting, and you went back to smoking on a regular basis. Maybe you are a smoker that has never thought about quitting before until you began thinking of having a child. No matter which category of smoker you fall under, the motivation inside you may never be stronger to quit than when you are looking to bear a child. Your entire world is about to be turned upside down. You are about to embark on one of the most amazing adventures life has to offer. You need to become a role model for your child before they are born. By using all the motivation inside of you that wants to give your child the best life possible, you can defeat your smoking habit! Up to this point you have endured many hardships, failed at many things, and kept picking yourself back up. You can quit! You can do this! Do it for the health of your future children and for your future health! If you need more reasons to quit smoking before your pregnancy begins, below you can find a list of how smoking will cause complications during your pregnancy, and how smoking will affect the future health of your child.

How smoking negatively impacts pregnancy:

  1. Smoking damages the DNA of eggs AND sperm, making it more difficult to conceive
  2. Miscarriage rates are higher in smokers than non-smokers
  3. Smoking causes a higher chance of having a placental abruption
  4. Smoking increases the likelihood of preeclampsia during pregnancy
  5. You are more likely to develop placental previa if you smoke
  6. In general, smoking lowers the quality of placenta  
  7. Smoking causes less oxygen and poor circulation that leads to lower birthweights
  8. Delivering your child prematurely is more likely if you smoke
  9. If you smoke and become pregnant, you are at higher risk of early onset breast cancer
  10. Smokers produce more birth defects compared to non-smokers

How smoking impacts your future child:

  1. Your child will be at three times more risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) if you smoke
  2. The children of smokers are more susceptible to behavioral problems and psychiatric illnesses
  3. Mothers who smoke increase the likelihood of their child having higher blood pressure during childhood
  4. Smoking increases the risk of your child developing respiratory disorders/issues
  5. Smoking during pregnancy impairs the immune system of the child after birth, increasing the chances of a child getting sick
Quitting smoking could be the missing link to your conception issues, or could be the deciding factor for a healthy and successful pregnancy. If you want to become pregnant, the risk of continuing to smoke is too great. We are all familiar with the famous scene in Spiderman when Ben Parker tells his son, Peter Parker “With great power, comes great responsibility”. You have a great power inside of you, a miracle, the ability to create another human being. You also have a great responsibility to ensure you wield your power over your child's future in a responsible manner. Working with a fertility specialist when you are looking to become pregnant is an invaluable step towards having a healthy, happy and amazing pregnancy.  
Higgins, S. (2002). Smoking in pregnancy. Current Opinion in Obstetrics and Gynecology, 14(2), 145-151.
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