Smoke--Even Secondhand--Impairs Fertility
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Smoking, or even exposure to secondhand smoke, can make it more difficult for a woman to conceive a child, British researchers report.
Women who smoke have trouble conceiving within 6 to 12 months regardless of age, alcohol consumption, weight and other factors, their study found. Exposure to secondhand smoke by either partner also lowered a woman's chances of becoming pregnant, according to Dr. Michael G. R. Hull and colleagues at the University of Bristol, UK.
It may be a good idea for women who are trying to get pregnant--and their partners--to avoiding smoke completely.
``Ideally, both partners should stop smoking. At the very least, actively smoking women should stop and should avoid exposure to smoke at work, and their partners should stop smoking at home,'' they write in the October issue of Fertility and Sterility.
The study results are based on data from more than 14,000 pregnancies. Researchers asked women about their smoking habits, whether they were exposed to smoke, and how long it took them to become pregnant.
Women who smoked were 23% less likely to conceive in a 6-month period and 54% less likely to get pregnant in a year compared with nonsmokers.
Women exposed to secondhand smoke were 14% to17% less likely to get pregnant in 6 months to a year, compared with women who had not been exposed to tobacco smoke.
Previous studies have shown that smoking lowers a woman's ability to conceive and reduces a man's sperm count, the authors note.
``Our study confirms the well-established observation of reduced fertility in women who smoke cigarettes,'' Hull and colleagues conclude. ``It also provides new evidence of a negative trend in a couple's fertility if the man smokes, and of delayed conception if a woman is exposed to passive smoking at home or in the workplace.''