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Smoking BEFORE you plan to get pregnant can affect your fertility!

Smoking BEFORE you plan to get pregnant can affect your fertility!

By Kate Davies, RN, BSc(Hons), FP Cert - Fertility Nurse

Everyone knows that smoking is bad for your health, but have you really given any consideration to how smoking affects both you and your partner’s fertility?
 
 

Let’s start with you...

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Women who smoke are at least 1.5 times more likely than non-smokers to take longer than a year to conceive. This is due to many reasons but primarily because smoking ages your ovaries by 10 years. This shocking fact means that as a 30yr old you may have the ovaries of a 40yr old and therefore may find it more difficult to conceive.
 
The more you smoke the more risk affecting your fertility, affecting both your ability to conceive and increasing the time it takes to get pregnant. Research has identified that the passage of the egg along the fallopian tubes is less efficient in women who smoke. This is believed to be due to the sub-optimal workings of the tiny ‘hair like’ structures called cilia in the fallopian tubes that waft the egg along the tube and into the uterus. In women who smoke, these appear almost ‘burnt’ off, as is often the case with nasal hair from smoking.
 
Worryingly, you don’t have to smoke yourself to affect your fertility. Passive smokers are more likely than women in non-smoking households to take longer to conceive. Smoking also destroys all the vital nutrients, such as zinc, selenium and vitamin c that your body needs to be working at its optimum and for you to conceive.
 
You are also more likely to have lower oestrogen and progesterone levels and have inadequate luteinising hormone. This delicate hormonal balance is crucial for conception and if just one hormone is disrupted, conceiving will become difficult. Women who smoke and do conceive are much more likely to miscarry, bleed during pregnancy and deliver babies with a low birth weight which can lead to long term ill health for the child.
 
Recent research has raised concerns that smoking during pregnancy may actually affect the fertility of your unborn child. A worrying find.
 

For Men...

Men who smoke are more likely to have a decreased sperm count and have sperm that are less motile, meaning that the sperm may have difficulties in swimming toward and successfully penetrating the egg. It is more likely that a man who smokes will have a higher percentage of abnormal sperm, again hampering their ability to meet the egg. Like a woman, a man’s hormonal balance is also affected by smoking and men who smoke are inclined to have reduced testosterone. This can have devastating effects on sperm production and libido.
 
Finally, children born to men who smoke are more likely to suffer with congenital abnormalities and have a higher risk of developing health problems such as asthma.
 

The Good News...

 
The good news is that there is something you can do to change this. Men’s sperm regenerates every 3 months and therefore if a man stops smoking, 3 months later his sperm will be dramatically improved and very quickly returns to normal.
 
For women it’s harder to reverse the damage caused by smoking, however giving up today will without doubt prevent any further effect on the health of your ovary or your general health. It is hard to give up smoking, so don’t try to do this alone.
 
Speak to your doctor to find out what help is available to you. In only a few months not only will you feel so much healthier but also you will have optimized your fertility for the better.
 

Book your FREE consultation with the OvuSense Fertility Nurse, Kate -  to assess your fertility potential, answer your burning fertility questions, get recommendations on how to optimize your fertility and have your charts analysed.

If you are an OvuSense customer you are entitled to a FREE 1 hour consult, if you are not currently using OvuSense you book a FREE 15 minute consultation. Consultations are held by Skype or Telephone. Don't see a time that suits you? Email Kate on kate.davies@fertility-focus.com