Scientists from the Imperial Cancer Research Fund’s General Practice Research Group in Oxford carried out research into the effects of smoking on women trying for a baby. The findings reveal that, on average, smokers take two months longer to conceive than non-smokers. Giving up the habit increases the chances again, and those that gave up a year before trying to conceive found it just as easy as non-smokers.
It’s already known that smoking during pregnancy can be harmful and increase the risk of babies being born with respiratory problems and low birth weights, but scientific evidence of the actual effect of the habit on conception has previously been lacking.
Dr Marcus Munafo, who led the research, says, ” The study shows a clear link between smoking and fertility problems. Many women may not be aware that by quitting smoking, they are also greatly improving their chances of getting pregnant in the first place.”
There are many benefits available for women who give up a year before trying to conceive he says, “This is good news, as it shows it is never too late to give up,” and suggests it should be the norm for women to include quitting smoking as part of their pre-conception plan.