Drinking and Smoking while TTC

Smoking while TTC

Pre-conception cigarette smoke may lead to a drop in fertility. Smoking can prematurely age the ovaries, and it may also cause damage to the tiny ovarian follicles that hold immature eggs. Quitting smoking also boosts your overall health.1

While kicking a smoking habit may feel impossible, there’s no better reason to quit than becoming healthy for your baby before TTC. Now—before you even begin trying to get pregnant—is the best time, because smoking at any point during your pregnancy could put your baby at risk. Smoking while pregnant increases your odds of premature birth and stillbirth. While cigarette smoke has thousands of dangerous toxins, nicotine, and carbon monoxide are among the deadliest, and can thwart your baby’s ability to receive oxygen. Moreover, smoking can spike your heartbeat and blood pressure, affecting the passage of nutrients through the placenta and thereby diminishing your baby’s wellbeing during the crucial development stages.

If your child is born healthy, smoking during pregnancy can still lead to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) after your son or daughter’s birth.2 There are impacts that could be potentially devastating for your child’s future – research has even shown that the long-term effects to the adult offspring could include development of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and impaired fertility.3

The time leading up to pregnancy may seem stressful to begin with, and when it’s compounded with the decision to quit smoking, it can lead to an overwhelming range of emotions. Thus, before you decide to quit, you may want to arm yourself with resources for support, so that when you find yourself experiencing a difficult time, you will already know where to go.

Drinking While TTC

Women often wonder about the proper time to stop drinking while TTC. Of course, consuming one glass of wine might not pose a severe threat to your odds of conceiving. That being said, the effects of alcohol on fertility, pregnancy, and breastfeeding infants are difficult to study (due, in part, to the fact that consumption is not always accurately reported). However, a study conducted by a team of Danish physicians provided conclusive evidence that a woman’s alcohol intake has a direct link with her ability to conceive – even if the weekly intake is five drinks or fewer. As a result, the study’s coordinators advise all women who are trying to become pregnant to avoid alcohol intake altogether.4 The National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia also states that “drinking is not the safest option” for women who are TTC.5

There is also a risk of someone already are pregnant unknowingly, which can pose some serious risks to your fetus. While the consumption of alcohol during the first three months of pregnancy is most dangerous to a baby, mothers who drink at any point while carrying put their babies at risk.6 Although the research is still being conducted to determine just how great an effect alcohol has on fertility, the indicators above seem to point to the fact that it is a good idea to drop the alcohol prior to TTC, so that you completely avoid any potential risks that could harm you or your baby.     

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  1. Mayo Clinic Staff (2015, March 19). Smoking and pregnancy: Understand the risks. Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-by-week/in-depth/smoking-and-pregnancy/art-20047021
  2. Center for Disease Control  (2015, August 5). Tobacco Use and Pregnancy. Retrieved November 1, 2015, from http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/tobaccousepregnancy/
  3. Bruin, J.E., Gerstein, H.C., & Holloway, A (2010). Long-Term Consequences of Fetal and Neonatal Nicotine Exposure: A Critical Review. Oxford Journals, 116 (2). Retrieved November 2, 2015, from http://toxsci.oxfordjournals.org/content/116/2/364.full
  4. National Institutes of Health: U.S. National Library of Medicine. (1998, August 22). Does moderate alcohol consumption affect fertility? Follow up study among couples planning first pregnancy. Retrieved November 1, 2015, from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC28642/
  5. Australian Government: National Health and Medical Research Council (2015, January 7) Alcohol guidelines: reducing the health risks. Retrieved November 2, 2015, from https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/health-topics/alcohol-guidelines
  6. National Institutes of Health: U.S. National Library of Medicine. (2015, August 3). Fetal alcohol syndrome. Retrieved November 2, 2015, from https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000911.htm.

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