Women who continue smoking while trying to have a baby risk having to wait significantly longer to get pregnant. Researchers at the Institute of Health Sciences at Oxford University compared the time taken to conceive by 569 women smokers, ex-smokers and never-smokers. Their findings show that on average women who continued to smoke while attempting to conceive took almost two months longer to conceive than non-smokers.
However, women who quit smoking a year before attempting to conceive were likely to get pregnant within a similar time period as non-smokers. The growing body of evidence that continuing to smoke while attempting to become pregnant may increase time to conception suggests that greater emphasis on this public health message is warranted.
AdvertisementCurrent opinion on smoking cessation favours total abstinence rather than gradual reduction as the most effective means of quitting and the best means of harm reduction. The risks of smoking during pregnancy are well documented, including higher infant mortality, the increased risk of the baby developing serious respiratory infection, and lower birth weights. Many women may not know that quitting improves their chances of becoming pregnant and adopt a healthier diet.