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Smoking and fertility: 8 Risks you need to know

When you’re young and carefree, you generally give little thought to the impact that your smoking may have on your fertility down the track…

But there are certain things you should know before you light up, regardless of your age or life stage.

“We are all familiar with the cancer risks associated with smoking — there are messages in the media constantly reminding us of this,” says “Quit Smoking” specialist hypnotherapist Khadine Aharon from Empowerment For Life.

“But what about the possible impact on your fertility? The reality is, if you are a woman who smokes, you are twice as likely to be infertile than a woman who does not. Yet, the issues around smoking and fertility are rarely brought to mainstream attention.”

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8 risks: The impact of smoking on your fertility

Smoking can have a significant impact on your fertility in a range of ways, Aharon confirms, including:

  1. Shorter menstrual cycles
  2. Irregular ovulation
  3. Reduction in egg quality and quantity
  4. Can take longer to conceive
  5. Increased risk of miscarriage
  6. Greater risk of ectopic pregnancy
  7. Success with infertility treatments such as IVF (in vitro fertilisation) are about half that of non-smokers
  8. Earlier menopause

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Did you know?

  • Smokers have a higher risk of having a premature baby.
  • Smokers are more likely to have complications of pregnancy affecting the placenta.
  • Smokers are more likely to have a low birthweight baby.
  • Babies born with a lower than average birthweight are at more risk of infection and other health problems.
  • Smoking during pregnancy increases the chances of the baby dying at or shortly after birth.
Source: NSW Government Health ‘Smoking and pregnancy’ Factsheet

Once you do fall pregnant, it’s advisable to quit smoking as soon as possible. Smoking while pregnant has long been on the no-no list due to potential risks to the pregnancy.

“New research is revealing that smoking during pregnancy can also impact the future fertility of your child,” Aharon explains.

“Also, if you are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke — which is when you inhale another person’s smoke by being near them — then your risk of infertility is almost equal to a smoking woman’s. If you want to get pregnant this may be an important consideration for you, particularly if your partner or someone you live with smokes around you.”

The good news for smokers

Your body has an amazing capacity to heal. “Stopping smoking as little as two months before trying to conceive will increase the likelihood of your success, whether you are trying naturally or through infertility treatments,” Aharon confirms. “If your partner smokes then your fertility will be further increased by them quitting as well.”

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