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It’s well-known that smoking is bad for your health, but it’s not until you start trying for a baby that you might observe its effects on fertility Tobacco is like a tyrant that lures you into its lair, before finally imprisoning you into an indefinite life sentence on which only you can call bail. The truth is, it takes an epiphany to break free from tobacco. Some people decide to quit overnight, while others need a compelling reason - a not-so-good one, like compromised health or disease; or a great one, like a positive pregnancy test. Smoking, fertility & pregnancy: The facts Smoking is associated with a number of health issues, including heart disease and cancers, among other problems. The toxins inside cigarettes can ravage the body’s normal functioning, also effectively impairing the reproductive system. Studies show that smoking may contribute to infertility in as many as 13% of couples. Smoking can harm your child in utero - that is, if it hasn’t already hindered your ability to get and stay pregnant. Here are some facts: A 2017 research study found that women who smoked six or more cigarettes a day were markedly impacted in their ability to conceive Other assorted studies revealed that each incremental cigarette has compounding effects on a woman’s fertility, regardless of the actual number If you are planning to start a family, paring down your cigarette consumption in a systematic manner is a good place to start. Impact of smoking on fertility Smoking is known to affect fertility - directly or indirectly - in the following ways: 1.Problems and blockages in the fallopian tubes 2.Increased risk of ectopic pregnancy 3.Poor egg quality due to insufficient development of eggs in the ovaries (women are born with a finite number of eggs that cannot be replenished) 4.Increased risk of miscarriage as a result of impaired eggs 5.Maldevelopment of the fetus 6.Problems with the uterine lining and therefore, problems with implantation 7.Increased risk of cervical cancer 8.Impact on future fertility 9.Premature menopause due to ovarian damage Impact of smoking on pregnancy and birth Smoking may cause complications to the mother, baby or both in these ways: Increased risk of birth defects, such as: 1. Limb malformations 2. Club foot o Extra or missing appendages 3. Cleft palate or lip 4. Skull defects 5. Facial deformations 6. Gastrointestinal dysfunction 7. Hernia 8. Anal defects 9. Undescended testes 10.Increased risk of low birth weight 11.Increased risk of preterm birth 12.High-risk pregnancy Benefits of giving up smoking It’s true that smoking can often cause irreversible damage to fertility, but there is evidence to suggest that infertility in women may improve within a year of quitting. In general, kicking the habit before you start trying to conceive may present the following benefits: 1.Higher chances of conception 2.Healthier functioning of the body 3.Healthier outcome for the baby 4.If your husband is also a smoker, commit to quitting together. Passive smoking may have negative effects on your fertility and pregnancy, and research suggests that smoking can hamper male fertility too. Fertility solutions at BirthRight Fertility by Rainbow At Rainbow Hospitals, our suite of fertility solutions is pointed at enhancing your fertility profile within a minimum lead time. Our tailored approach combines in vitro fertilisation (IVF treatments), intrauterine insemination (IUI), intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), pre implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and pre implantation genetic screening (PGS), among other avant-garde techniques, to create a customised fertility programme for each couple. Book an appointment with a fertility specialist in Hyderabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Vijayawada or Chennai today to begin your journey to parenthood.
MBBS, DGO, Fellowship in Reproductive Medicine
Rainbow Children's Hospital, Banjara Hills, Hyderabad