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How Smoking Affects Pregnancy and Fertility

It’s well known now that smoking is unhealthy for anyone and everyone, but the magnitude to which it affects a mother and child before and during pregnancy is more severe than many realize. Babies born to mothers who smoke can be born prematurely, have birth defects, and even die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Furthermore, smoking isn’t the end of it. Even being subjected to smoke during pregnancy can cause these kinds of health issues for you and baby.


Future mothers set themselves up for a healthier pregnancy if they quit smoking way in advance of getting pregnant, staying away from smoke, and even quitting or avoiding smoking as soon as they find out they’re pregnant

We get a lot of questions about how exactly smoking can affect women before, during and after pregnancy, so we want to address those!

Will Smoking Affect How Fertile I Am?

Yes, and it can affect your partner too. Studies show that women who smoke have a more difficult time getting pregnant than women who don’t. Men who smoke also experience issues such as sperm damage and erectile dysfunction. Therefore, it’s best for both to quit smoking if you’re hoping to get pregnant.

How Could Smoking Affect Me and My Baby?

There are actually quite a few ways smoking can harm you and baby, including:

  • Stunting your baby’s growth in the womb. Many smoking mothers find that their baby is born small, even if it was a full-term pregnancy.
  • Premature birth, which in itself carries health risks and issues.
  • The damage of baby’s lungs and brain, which can last through childhood and into their teenage years.
  • Doubled risk for abnormal bleeding during pregnancy and delivery, which can put you and the baby in danger.
  • Increased risk of birth defects such as cleft lip and palate. This can lead to trouble eating and the need for surgery.
  • A higher risk for SIDS.

When to Quit Smoking

Deciding to quit smoking is always a good idea, but if you’re trying to get pregnant, we recommend quitting right away. Realistically, quitting at the soonest point you are able to is best for your baby if you’re already pregnant.

Talk to one of our doctors at OGA for advice on quitting smoking by setting up an appointment at one of our locations! When you quit smoking, even after one day, your baby gets more oxygen to their body. It’s worth quitting smoking to give your baby a greater chance at a healthy life.



This article is informational in nature and is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of your licensed healthcare professional.