Effects of Smoking on Fertility, Pregnancy & Reproductive Health

Smoking, especially cigarette smoking is a very common social practice in our environment. It is seen in both sexes and in almost all age groups. Smoking has been known to be hazardous to health, hence, it is always written on cigarette packs, that “Smokers are liable to die young”. Yet, few people pay heed to this warnings.

Cigarette contains many harmful chemicals that can affect fertility in both men & women negatively.
In summary, you might just be Smoking Away your Babies.


Today, we are going to talk about the effect of smoking on Fertility, Pregnancy & Reproductive Health.

Table of Content

Effect of Smoking In men

Smoking can reduce the sperm count, giving rise to low sperm count, which means that the man would find it difficult to get a woman pregnant. It can also affect ability of sperm to move, thereby making it difficult for the sperm to meet the egg and fertilize it, before pregnancy can happen.
It can also cause the production of abnormal sperm with damaged DNA, and like all know, an abnormal sperm cannot fertilize an egg, and even when it does, it would lead to the production of a baby with one or more congenital defects.
To read more about quality sperm & how to improve the quality of your sperm, click here.

Effect of Smoking In women

Smoking can make a woman enter into early menopause. That is, the woman would enter menopause by 1- 4 years ahead of the expected time. This can make her prone to a number of changes both hormonal & physical that is observed during menopause.

It can also affect the ability of the fallopian tubes of the woman to carry eggs, thereby resulting in problems with fertility. It can as well prevent fertilization of the egg & implantation of pregnancy.

Effect of Smoking on In-vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In-vitro Fertilization is an assisted reproductive technique that is used for couples who are having problems of infertility. In this technique, the sperm and the egg fertilize outside the body of the woman, and then the resulting zygote (baby) is placed into the womb to implant.
During IVF, Women who smoke require higher dose of drugs to stimulate ovulation. Also, IVF success rate in these women may be 30% less than in those who do not smokers.

Effect of Smoking In pregnancy

The importance of quitting smoking cannot be overemphasized, especially in pregnancy. Here, smoking can cause miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies as well as cause anomalies in babies.
It can damage the baby’s lungs or reduce the babies growth rate (the baby would not be growing/adding weight as expected) thereby making the baby small for age.
In the mothers, it can also cause preterm contractions leading to preterm labour.

It is also observed that sons of mothers who smoke during pregnancy may have low sperm count.

The risk that are associated with smoking is not only for those who smoke. Even those who stay where they smoke or with partners that smoke, thereby inhaling the smoke can also develop these problems too. These is what we call second hand smoke or passive smoking.

If you quit smoking, fertility improves but does not reverse the decreased egg supply. This is in addition to the other health risks associated with smoking like risk of cancer or the lungs and other problems.

Improve your health today!!

Quite smoking while it’s still early for the sake of you and your children.

Feel free to ask any questions you may have below.


  • Dr Abosede Lewu is a specialist Obstetrician and Gynaecologist. She is an Expert on Women's Health, (Fibroids, Infertility, Menstruation & Pregnancy issues). Dr. Abosede Lewu holds an MBBS Degree from the University of Maiduguri, Borno State Nigeria. You can follow Dr. Lewu on twitter: @NaijaObgyn for all Obstetrics and Gynaecology related complaints.

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