Can Smoking affect Fertility?

If fertility and making a baby are at the top of the priority chart for you at the moment, you must have shifted to healthy food and exercises and loaded up vitamins and folic acid on your plate. Having tried all that you could, you are still finding getting pregnant impossible each month. Before one gets frustrated, check for the silent damage invigorator- Smoking.

You may be an active smoker or a passive smoker and you haven’t realized that smoking affects fertility and the pregnancy adversely. Both men and women are worse affected by smoking and if you want to get pregnant, both must quit smoking. Easier said than done but smoking is a silent culprit affecting your eggs, sperms, fertility and delays pregnancy.

Can Smoking by my Partner affect Pregnancy?

Smoking affects the rate of conceiving even if one or both the partners are smoking. The couple will have some irreversible fertility issues and are likely to take much longer to get pregnant. The chemicals in cigarettes and alcohol affect the quality of eggs and sperms and make them incapacitated to fertilize. 

Dr. Shivani Bhutani, the best infertility expert of Punjab, states that there is no limit to smoking and any amount of smoking will affect the fertility rate and pace. She even insists that women who are exposed to a smoking atmosphere (passive smokers) damage the pregnancy and the health of the unborn babies as much as a smoker.

What are the Side-Effects of Smoking in Fertility and Pregnancy?

A couple who smokes will take much longer to conceive than non-smokers with similar given conditions. The chemicals in a cigarette- nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar affect the health of the unborn baby as well as the immunity of baby after birth.

Following are ill-effects of smoking on pregnancy:

  • Miscarriage: This is a common sight for people who smoke. Losing a baby in the first three months of pregnancy or even after 20 weeks of gestation (stillbirth) can be wrecking for the couple and can torment them enough.
  • Placenta Previa: A low lying placenta may cause miscarriage or covers the cervix partially or fully. The placenta usually tears in such cases and causes excessive bleeding and the fetus shall be deprived of the necessary oxygen and nutrients.
  • Miscarriage and Still Childbirth: The termination of pregnancy at any stage can be tormenting for the couple and chances of miscarriage are higher if either or both the partners smoke. Smoking couples have also reported a higher chance of stillbirth after 20 weeks of pregnancy. The harmful chemicals cause irreversible damage to the body which may lead to miscarriage and stillbirth.
  • Placental Abruption: The placenta is the life-support system of the fetus and provides it with essential nutrients and oxygen. If the female smokes or is exposed to passive smoking, chances of placental abruption are high. The placenta separates from the uterus before childbirth and this puts the life of both the mother and child in danger. This also causes enormous blood loss and cannot be stitched back. Hence smoking causes acute damage to pregnancy.
  • Ectopic Pregnancy: This is a life-threatening situation where the fallopian tubes have contracted due to smoking. Consequently, the embryo cannot pass through fallopian tubes and the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus or in the abdomen. As a result, the pregnancy has to be terminated timely.
  • Low weight Birth or Pre-term Birth or Birth Defects: Having a child is a blessing but with parents who smoke, chances are that babies are born prematurely with low weight and low immunity. Moreover, the chances of health risks like mental disability, visual and hearing impairments, learning and behavioral problems in kids are on the rise as a result of excessive smoking by parents. Not only this, even anomalies like congenital birth defects and heart problems can be attributed to the genes of smokers.

What is Worse- Smoking by Man or Woman?

Smoking by both the man and woman affect pregnancy and delivery in an adverse manner. Infertility ratio in both men and women doubles up if they are smokers. Dr. Bhutani laments that even treatments like IVF may not be fully successful in overcoming the damages done by smoking.

Erectile dysfunction and pregnancy delays are the direct ill-effects of smoking. Smoking is equally bad for both men and women. Smoking attacks on all sides- the uterus and it’s inside where the baby grows, the chromosomes of the baby, hormone levels of man and woman and the fertilized egg’s pace to reach the uterus.

Following are the adverse effects of smoking in men:

  • Men who smoke face more problems in getting erections.
  • Sperm usually takes three months to mature and smoking damages the DNA of the sperm which has to be passed on to the babies.
  • Children of heavy smokers are more susceptible to severe health ailments like leukemia.

Following are some irreversible damages done by the cigarettes in woman’s body:

  • The chances of miscarriages, stillbirth, low weight birth or premature delivery increase manifold times in the case of women who smoke.
  • Active or passive smoking affects the ovaries and organs of the newborn baby.

Last Words

Smoking has detrimental effects on pregnancy. It may affect either the man’s sperms or the woman’s eggs and cause severe health troubles to the baby as well. Dr. Shivani Bhutani, leading infertility expert of Punjab from EVA Hospital, strictly recommends quitting smoking at least three months before planning a baby. For any queries or genuine advice on pregnancy, infertility and planning a baby, get in touch with Dr.Bhutani.