HomeOur BlogsFVFLPregnancy and smoking



 

Pregnancy and smoking
1st February 2008

In fact, male smokers on average have a lower sperm count than non smokers. And even if your sperm count is normal the sperm may not be strong enough to reach the right place to fertilize. Smoking may also cause erectile dysfunction as it affects the blood vessels that supply the penis.

Nicotine may also lower a woman’s fertility by affecting the hormones that are necessary for pregnancy as well as hindering the journey of the egg to the womb.

Adults who are born to mothers who smoked during their pregnancy also have less chance of becoming a parent themselves, and IVF is less successful when one or both parties smoke.

So why is it harmful to smoke during pregnancy? Firstly, smokers are more likely to miscarry. Secondly, an unborn baby gets all its nutrients from its mother via the placenta and umbilical cord. Smoking exposes the foetus to the 4000 chemical toxins that are in tobacco smoke, and also damages the function of the placenta. This can raise the unborn baby’s heart rate as it struggles to get enough oxygen, and may result in low birth weight and a premature birth. Studies show that the more the mother smokes, the less the child weights.

Unfortunately, the damage doesn’t stop there; Babies born to smokers have poorer lung function and in general are ill more often suffering more commonly from conditions such as asthmatic bronchitis and inflammation of the middle ear in childhood. There also seems to be a direct link to smoking during pregnancy and cot death.

Pregnancy is a major motivation to give up smoking, and it’s never too late to stop; much of the damage can be reversed because your body has the ability to heal itself. In fact, although smoking causes a lower birth weight, women who stopped smoking halfway into their pregnancy gave birth to average weight babies. However despite this incentive the cravings can be so bad that not everyone manages to quit.

There are many ways to stop smoking; willpower, patches, gum, hypnotherapy, acupuncture and even a revolutionary therapy called bioresonance to name but a few. What you need to do is to look in to each therapy and see which one suits you the best. But make sure that you’re really ready to quit, as willpower will be your greatest tool to success.

www.fvfl.org.uk

References
1. Adriaanse HP. Smoking in Dutch pregnant women and birth weight. Patient Educ Couns 1996 Jun;28(1):25-30
2. Godschalk RW. Characterization of the exposure-disease continuum in neonates of mothers exposed to carcinogens during pregnancy. Basic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol 2008.
3. Milner AD. The effects of antenatal smoking on lung function and respiratory symptoms in infants and children. Early Hum Dev. 2007 Nov;83(11):707-11. Epub 2007 Sep 21.
4.Reinert P. Recurrent upper respiratory tract infections and otitis in children. Rev Prat 2007 Oct 31;57(16):1767-73.
5. Shea AK. Cigarette smoking during pregnancy. Nicotine Tob Res 2008 Feb;10(2):267-78.
6. Schulte-Hobein B. Cigarette smoke exposure and development of infants throughout the first year of life: influence of passive smoking and nursing on cotinine levels in breast milk and infant’s urine. Acta paediatr 1992 Jun-Jul;81(6-7):550-7
7. Triche EW. Environmental factors implicated in the causation of adverse pregnancy outcome. Semin Perinatol 2007 Aug;31(4):240-2.
8. Vine NF. Cigarette smoking and sperm density: a meta-analysis. Fertil Steril 1994; 61: 35-43.
9. Winzer-Serhan UH. Long-term consequences of maternal smoking and developmental chronic nicotine exposure. Front Biosci 2008.

Select the links below to read more….