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Excessive Smoking, Drinking and Drugs

Do my partner and I, both need to stop smoking

Yes. If you or your partner smoke try to stop. This may be the most important thing you can do for your own and your baby's health.  The reason is that while you are planning conception, the healthier the egg and sperm, the greater the chances of a healthier baby.  After conception has taken place, excessive smoking is known to cause severe deformities in the unborn baby.

Is alcohol consumption harmful

Heavy drinking can affect your menstrual cycle. As long as drinking, smoking and drug use have been curtailed before getting pregnant, prior use seems to pose almost no risk to the baby. However, once you think of planning a pregnancy, both you and your partner should try to limit your alcohol intake to as little as possible. Remember that the healthier the egg and the sperm, the greater the chances of a healthier baby.  Once conception has taken place, although an occasional drink is not harmful, the mother should exercise greater discipline in her alcohol consumption.

I have been taking illicit drugs.  Will they be harmful to the baby

As long as all illicit drug taking (like marijuana, cocaine, etc) has taken place before conception, there is no clear evidence to indicate any harmful effects on the baby.  However, these drugs should certainly not have been in the system when conception occurred, since they may have affected the sperm or the egg (of course, depending on the type of drug and the amount consumed).  Once pregnancy has commenced, these drugs can be extremely harmful to the baby.

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