You Need to Know
Women smokers who
try for a baby may take up to two months longer to conceive than non-smokers,
Women have a 40% lower chance of getting pregnant if they smoke, according
to a report published today by the British Medical Association (BMA).
Smoking and passive smoking was also responsible for up to 5,000 miscarriages
and 120,000 cases of male impotence in men aged between 30 and 50 every
year, said the report, Smoking and Reproductive Life, by the BMA's board
of science and tobacco control resource centre.
The 70-page report also pointed to new evidence that smoking increased
the chances of foetal malformation such as cleft lip and palate.
study looked at the success rates of 569 women aged around 29 who were
trying to have a baby, including smokers, ex-smokers and non-smokers.
Its findings show that those who continued to smoke took, on average,
almost two months longer to conceive than women who gave up smoking
during that period.
quitting helps immediately. Within a year of giving up, ex-smokers took
no longer to become pregnant than women who had never smoked. Chief
researcher Dr. Marcus Munafo, from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund's
General Practice Research Group, said women were encouraged not to smoke
during pregnancy because of the harm it causes the unborn baby. But
smokers should now consider quitting even earlier - as soon as they
decide they want to try for a baby. He said: "There is a lot of
evidence about the risks of smoking durring pregnancy such as higher
mortality, the increased risk of the baby developing serious respiratory
infection ,and lower birth weights.
women may not be aware that quitting also greatly improves their chances
of getting pregnant in the first place. The study clearly shows a link
between smoking and fertility problems.'Published in the Journal of
Biosocial Science, the study suggests heavy smokers are affected to
a greater degree.
Munafo stressed that smoking made conception harder for all women. It
is not clear how smoking damages women's fertility, but it may affect
the release of an egg before fertilisation or the quality of the eggs.
said: 'When trying to conceive, many women often change their lifestyle
by cutting down their alcohol intake, taking vitamins and minerals and
eating a healthier diet. this study shows that stopping smoking should
be a part of this pre-conception routine and women should quit as soon
as they are thinking about having a baby. The message from this research
is that if you want to get pregnant, you will not only improve your
chances by quitting, you will also be doing something to protect the
health of your child in the long term.'Other research has found that
if a non-smoking woman is exposed to passive smoking, her chances of
conceiving within a year are reduced by 14 percent.
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