Smoking and TTC

Can You Get Pregnant If One of You Smokes?

Did you know many people are not aware that smoking affects your fertility? And this is true for both women and men!  Most people know that smoking causes lung cancer, COPD, and heart disease.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a lot of information about how smoking harms your health.  And one of the areas is fertility.  If you’re TTC and you’re a smoker, or your partner is, wanting to have a baby may be the motivation you need to help you give up smoking.

How Smoking Hurts Men’s Fertility

Smoking can damage sperm and contribute to erectile dysfunction or ED, according to the CDC. Either of these can make it more difficult for the female partner to get pregnant, even if no other issues are present.  There is also some research that shows smoking by the male partner decreases the success rates of IVF.  It’s not clear if that’s due to its effect on sperm or if it’s because of the effect of secondhand smoke on the female partner.

How Smoking Hurts Women’s Fertility

Egg quantity and quality, known as ovarian reserve, are decreased in women who smoke. Some studies have found that women who have IVF treatment and are smokers experience a lower response to follicle stimulating medications, produce lower numbers of eggs, and have lower rates of fertilization.  Smokers also have increased chances of miscarriage.  If you do get pregnant, babies born to smokers are more likely to be premature, have lower birth weight or have health problems.

When Should You Quit?

Studies show that women can improve their chances of getting pregnant if they quit smoking at least two months before TTC. The longer you’ve been a non-smoker, the better your chance of getting pregnant.  If you live with a smoker, encourage him or her to quit.  Secondhand smoke is almost as dangerous as smoking yourself!  Besides, your male partner needs to quit for his health and fertility as well as yours.  The sooner he quits, the easier it may be for you to get pregnant.

Smoking is a serious and complicated addiction. Everyone understands that it’s hard to quit smoking, but nonsmokers can be judgmental if they’ve never been through quitting. If you’re TTC or pregnant, you may want to quit but feel ashamed that you’re still smoking.  Talk to your doctor about getting help with quitting. There are medications and nicotine products to help with withdrawal, but find out what it’s safe to use if are TTC or having IVF treatment.  Be proud of yourself for taking the first step toward better health for yourself, and for your future baby!