Cigarette smoking has definitely been linked with fertility problems in women. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), virtually all scientific studies support the conclusion that smoking has an adverse impact on fertility. The ASRM patient fact sheet on smoking and infertility points out that smoking

• "is harmful to a woman's ovaries"

• "appears to accelerate the loss of eggs and reproductive function"

• "[interferes] with the ability of cells in the ovary to make estrogen"

• "causes a woman's eggs (oocytes) to be more prone to genetic abnormalities"

• "is associated with an increased risk of spontaneous miscarriage"

Smoking has also been linked to fertility problems in men. According to ASRM, it has been linked to decreased sperm count, reduced sperm mobility, and an increase in the number of abnormal sperm and function.

Smoking that takes place when a woman is pregnant has been associated with premature birth, low birth weight, and problems with the placenta. A baby that has been exposed to tobacco smoke also has a higher incidence of dying from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

For your own health and the health of your future baby, now is a good time to quit smoking. If it's too difficult to stop cold turkey, at least cut down your use. Talk with your doctor about a safe program to help you quit smoking. Your doctor may be able to prescribe medication or refer you for counseling or treatment.

This is a good time for your partner to stop smoking, too. Secondhand smoke is not good for you or your baby. If you and your partner both smoke, get together and make an agreement to quit. You can make it a team approach as you work together to stop smoking and improve your overall health.

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