Quit it! How Smoking Harms Your Fertility And Your Chances Of Having The Healthy Baby Of Your Dreams
Everyone knows that smoking is hazardous to health; and that the sooner one quits, the better the body is able to repair and reverse the effects smoking has had on various bodily functions and systems. Most studies and public warnings focus on the adverse effects of smoking on the respiratory and the cardiovascular systems. However, the effects on the male and female reproductive systems are often not as well appreciated despite the real damage it causes.
Studies have established that smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of spontaneous miscarriages, premature births and birth deformities in infants. There is also an established connection between smoking and infertility in both sexes. In women, the chemicals found in cigarettes directly affect the ovaries by decreasing estrogen production, and accelerating death of eggs produced. The toxic compounds in smoke also indirectly affect fertility by causing pelvic inflammatory disease, adhesions, ectopic pregnancies and by accelerating the onset of menopause.
Men who smoke have lower sperm count and motility, with increased abnormalities in sperm shape and function. They are also at a higher risk of impotence, which could result in infertility. Moreover, men who smoke are putting their partners at a higher risk of infertility through passive smoking. Interestingly, the effects and damage caused by passive cigarette smoke exposure is only slightly different to active smoking. Smoke cessation is an integral part of any fertility boosting efforts whether you are aiming for a healthy natural or assisted conception.
The best advice anyone can give you is—If you are a smoker, quit as soon as possible and if your partner smokes be supportive whilst encouraging him or her to quit. The decision to quit is the first of many important, positive steps which can be taken towards creating the healthy baby of your dreams. Here are a few approaches available for someone who wants to quit, and stay smoke free.
Choose a replacement habit or activity — There is no such thing as giving up an addiction. The best way is to replace it with a new healthy habit. So right now, consciously choose what you will do instead of smoking whenever you get the urge. You may choose to drink water each time you feel like smoking or writing in your journal or going for a run. Whatever you choose be sure to stick with it and the choice will become easier each time you exercise it.
Nicotine patches and gums — There are a wide variety of nicotine products such as patches, gums and oral tablets available. These deliver a small dose of nicotine, so that withdrawal symptoms are minimized. The goal is to taper off use of these products as quickly as possible. Nicotine itself is a fertility toxin so the sooner you can rid yourself of it, the better. Homeopathic remedies such as lobelia inflata and nux vomica may also be helpful to reduce cravings.
Hypnotherapy — Sessions with a professional or hypnosis recordings can be extremely beneficial and very effective in helping with smoking cessation. The basic principle of hypnosis is promoting positive behavior modification by complete relaxation of mind and body.
Emotional Freedom Technique — A fabulous tool to help balance the body’s energy system and address emotional attachment to smoking and the beliefs that quitting is hard, or that you will put on weight as a result or whatever other feelings or emotions that keep you attached to this poisonous habit.
Allen Carr Smoking Cessation Method — This is a very popular and effective smoking cessation method many of my patients have used in combination with EFT to stop smoking easily and effortlessly. You can too!
Acupuncture — This treatment comprises of stimulation of key acupuncture points on the ear, and may be done using needles or cold laser (low level laser beams). This promotes relaxation and the release of endorphins (the natural feel-good hormones) which mimic the effect of nicotine in the brain.
Request assistance of family and friends — A strong social support network can help you stay motivated.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle — Take up other activities that you are passionate about to keep your mind occupied. Exercise and healthy eating habits will help to rebalance your system allowing your body to heal quicker.