Smoke raises odds of fertility woes
12.10.08 Study finds secondhand tobacco exposure can alter girls' bodies.
Here's another reason to quit smoking: It will affect your daughter's fertility later on. University of Rochester Medical Center researchers say women who breathed in secondhand smoke for six hours or more daily as children or young adults are more likely to have trouble getting pregnant and may have more miscarriages than those not exposed to smoke, Reuters reports.
In a new study—published in the journal Tobacco Control—of 4,800 non-smoking women, 50 percent were found to have been exposed secondhand growing up in a home with smoking parents. Researchers indicate the toxins in the smoke can permanently damage women's bodies, suggesting that the smoke interferes with normal hormonal activity in fertility and pregnancy.
In the study, 11 percent of the women had difficulty becoming pregnant, 26 percent if their parents were the smokers; one-third had suffered a miscarriage; 40 percent reported other health difficulties during pregnancy. Other studies have linked tobacco use to miscarriage, birth defects, preterm labor, low-birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome. Experts say that up to 20 percent of moms-to-be continue to smoke throughout their pregnancies.
So basically, babies and smoking don't mix—whether in utero or after birth. If you can't stop smoking, consult with your doctor for advice and support on what steps to take to quit. Your pregnancy worry list is shorter than you think and avoiding tobacco should be at the top.
Maria Vega is Fit Pregnancy magazine's copy editor.