Establishing and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential if you are thinking about having a baby. If you currently smoke cigarettes, then it is wise to consider giving it up.
Even if you don’t plan to have a baby straight away, smoking compromises your menstrual health and the healthy functioning of your reproductive system. Studies have shown that smokers take longer to conceive than non-smokers, and this includes passive smoking (more at http://www.nietrokers.nl/e/n02100.html ).
I received the following information from Kate Adams who is studying environmental epidemiology – She found the information whilst researching chemicals and ovarian cancer.
“PAH, a component of cigarette smoke and fossil fuel combustion, binds to what is called an Aromatic Hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) on cells in ovary structures. When PAH attaches itself, it stimulates the ovaries to shut down the maturation process of eggs, resulting in an egg trapped in a non-ovulatory follicle. In other words, smoking can interfere with and even shut down ovulation, with obvious consequences for normal functioning of the menstrual cycle. Some scientists believe this evidence explains why women who smoke experience premature menopause. … Dioxins and PCB’s and other double and multi-ring structures can also bind to this receptor and wreak havoc on reproductive systems, but they do it in a less-known and different way than PAH. ”
Smoking affects women undergoing in vitro fertilization “Smoking lessens the chance of successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment and women should be actively encouraged to quit before undergoing IVF, researchers recommend. These data should lead us actively to discourage smoking among women before IVF treatment. The explanation may be that smoking causes vascular problems, which inhibit the embryo from implanting in the wall of the uterus,” Full article at http://www.obgyn.net/newsrx/women’s_health-In_Vitro_Fertilization-20010809-10.asp
Smoking has many harmful effects on the unborn child – ranging from reducing birth weight, increasing spontaneous miscarriage and increasing the likelihood of other pregnancy complications More at http://www.ash.org.uk/html/factsheets/html/fact07.html
More links and information on Smoking and menstrual health / Fertility
Men are also at risk as smoking can reduce the health of their sperm.