Smoke Raises Odds of Fertility Problems

Study finds secondhand tobacco exposure can alter girls' bodies.

woman smoking

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.

Update: Second-hand Smoke and Premature Birth: Every Puff Really Does Matter

In a 2008 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, but women were 26 percent more likely to have trouble conceiving if their parents smoked. They were also 39 percent more likely to suffer a miscarriage. 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.