Smoking and fertility

You know that smoking is bad for you, but you may not know about the negative effects smoking has on your chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy baby.

Smokers take longer to conceive than non-smokers and are more likely to have fertility problems.

Women who smoke – or are exposed to other people’s smoke – have an increased risk of infertility and are more likely to take longer to get pregnant. In fact, passive smoking (inhaling someone else’s smoke) is only slightly less harmful to fertility than active smoking.

Pregnant women who smoke can find it more difficult to quit if they have a partner who smokes. Research shows it is much easier for people to stop smoking if they do it with their partner. Deciding to quit together is a great way to increase your fertility and chances of having a healthy baby.

The facts about smoking and having a baby

  • Smoking affects each stage of the reproductive process, including egg and sperm maturation, hormone production, embryo transport, and the environment in the uterus. It can also damage the DNA in both eggs and sperm.
  • Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of pregnancy complications, low birth weight, and birth defects
  • Exposure to cigarette smoking during pregnancy can impact on the development of a female foetus’ ovaries.
  • Smoking increases a woman’s chance of experiencing a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. The risk of miscarriage increases with the amount smoked (1% increase in risk per cigarette smoked per day).
  • Women who smoke reach menopause almost two years earlier than non-smokers and women who are exposed to second-hand smoke reach menopause more than a year earlier.

The good news?

  • Stopping smoking can improve natural fertility and some of the effects of smoking can be reversed within a year of quitting.
  • Women who quit smoking before conception or within the first three months of pregnancy reduce their risks of their baby being born prematurely to be on par with non-smokers.
  • Women who stop smoking early in their pregnancy have babies with similar birth-weights to those of non-smokers. Women who stop before their third trimester can avoid much of the effect smoking has on birth-weight.

Quit For Fertility

New interactive tool developed with Quit Victoria

 

If you’re planning to have a baby, it’s important to know that smoking reduces fertility. It is important for potential mums and dads to quit as early as possible to improve their chances of having a healthy baby.

This interactive tool, developed with Quit Victoria, helps you get to know the facts about how smoking affects fertility and pregnancy. For more information and support on how to quit smoking, visit www.quit.org.au

Preconception

Month 1:

You and your baby's health

Smokers (whether you or your partner) take longer to conceive.

Top benefits

As soon as you stop smoking fertility begins to improve.

Preconception

Month 2:

You and your baby's health

Passive smoking (inhaling someone else's smoke) is almost as damaging to fertility as smoking.

Top benefits

You will be coughing and wheezing less within 2 months of quitting

Preconception

Month 3:

You and your baby's health

Smoking can damage the DNA in eggs and sperm, affecting your child's future health.

Top benefits

Quitting smoking means a healthier you, and a much greater chance of conceiving.

Trimester 1

Month 1:

You and your baby's health

Quitting in the early weeks of pregnancy reduces the risk of pregnancy complications

Top benefits

Your body is better at fighting infection.

Trimester 1

Month 2:

You and your baby's health

Everything you eat, drink and breathe, including cigarette smoke, affects your baby.

Top benefits

Your lungs are starting to heal as cilia, the tiny hairs that clean your lungs, begin to recover from paralysing tobacco toxins

Trimester 1

Month 3:

You and your baby's health

Quitting smoking decreases the risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy that develops outside the uterus).

Top benefits

Women who quit smoking in the first three months of pregnancy reduce the risk of a pre-term birth.

Trimester 2

Month 1:

You and your baby's health

Clear the air for your baby girl: exposure to cigarette smoke in utero affects the development of a baby girl's ovaries.

Top benefits

After 4 months of quitting smoking your blood is less thick and sticky, reducing your risk of harmful clots

Trimester 2

Month 2:

You and your baby's health

Quitting smoking during pregnancy decreases the risk of a range of birth defects.

Top benefits

Quitting smoking before the third trimester helps with your baby's birthweight.

Trimester 2

Month 3:

You and your baby's health

Quitting smoking decreases the risk that your baby will be born with weaker lungs, which may persist into childhood

Top benefits

Women who stop smoking before the third trimester of pregnancy can avoid much of the effect of smoking on birthweight.

Trimester 3

Month 1:

You and your baby's health

Passive smoking is almost as damaging to your unborn baby's health as smoking.

Top benefits

It's not too late! Quitting at any time during your pregnancy reduces the risk of harm to your baby.

Trimester 3

Month 2:

You and your baby's health

When you smoke, your baby gets less oxygen. Quitting during pregnancy will mean your baby's lungs will be stronger.

Top benefits

You'll be breathing easier than if you'd kept smoking

Trimester 3

Month 3:

You and your baby's health

Quitting smoking improves your baby's immune system.

Top benefits

By staying quit you're protecting the health of your child and your partner.

Up to a year

You and your baby's health

Women who smoke reach menopause almost two years earlier than nonsmokers.

Babies exposed to cigarette smoke have an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Top benefits

You're a healthy role model for your child.

Myth conception

The myth:

"Passive smoking doesn’t affect a woman’s fertility."

The truth:

Passive smoking reduces a woman’s fertility.

Passive smoking is only slightly less harmful to fertility than active smoking. Women who are exposed to other people’s smoke are more likely to take longer to get pregnant.

Gauge your fertility potential Alcohol and fertilitySmoking and men's fertility