Excessive smoking, drinking and drug abuse can affect the ability to conceive and cause harm to the health of the baby. Discussed below are the common concerns related to excessive smoking, drinking and drug abuse and conception.
Excessive smoking, drinking and taking drugs can affect the quality of egg and sperm. It may hamper the ability to conceive and at the same time poor quality of egg and sperm may reduce the chances of giving birth to a healthier baby. Let us now take a look at the common concerns of couples related excessive smoking, drinking and taking drugs while planning to have a baby.
Do my partner and I, both need to stop smoking?
Yes. If you or your partners 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.
Does smoking affect fertility?
Women who smoke or are exposed to passive smoking mostly find difficult to conceive. In fact individuals who smoke need more time to conceive as compared to the non-smokers. Smoking can affect the entire process of reproduction and can hamper the DNA in eggs as well as in sperms. Therefore, it is necessary for both the partners to quit smoking if they are planning to have a baby.
What are the consequences of smoking during pregnancy?
Smoking can not only affect fertility but also it can cause lot of complications during pregnancy. It can harm the female foetusâ€™s ovaries. It exposes pregnant women to the risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. It can also increase the chances of preterm delivery. As mentioned above smoking during pregnancy can cause birth defects in babies. It can cause birth defects like foetal injury. It can also increase the risk of still births and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
What kinds of birth defects are caused due to drinking and taking illicit drugs?
Taking alcoholic drinks during pregnancy can cause birth defects like congenital defects, cleft palate, deformities of face, deformities in hands and legs, intellectual disabilities etc. Alcohol during pregnancy can also expose babies to lifelong disabilities. It can increase the risk of hyperactivity disorders and affect the attention span of the child.
On the other hand taking illicit drugs during pregnancy can increase the risk of brain damage in babies. Babies may also develop breathing problems. Babies may be born with low immunity to common illnesses as compared to other children. As you are now aware of the health risks to the couple as well as to the baby that can be caused due to excessive smoking, drinking and taking drugs, you must avoid them at all costs. Quitting such habits will help couples to have a risk free pregnancy and a healthy baby.
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- The Indiaparenting Team