Behavioral Habits And Infertility
Many people assume that infertility is caused by underlying health issues such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or a hormonal imbalance. But behavioral habits can contribute to underlying health conditions and imbalances that can also impact a woman or couple’s ability to conceive. And while most people think about infertility as a primarily female concern, the situation can impact men as well. Specifically, smoking can negatively impact fertility in both men and women. The habit can reduce egg and sperm quality, increase the risk of miscarriages, and may put unborn children at higher risks for birth defects and developmental delays. For couples who want to get pregnant, even in the future, quitting smoking is important to increase the chances of successfully conceiving.
1. Find an alternative stress reliever
Lighting up a cigarette during times of stress is a common issue for people that smoke. But for couples trying to conceive, reaching for a cigarette can have negative consequences. Instead of smoking, find healthy outlets for stress, such as exercising or meditating. In addition to the positive health benefits related to exercising, working out or meditating can help to improve mental health.
2. Nicotine replacement therapy
Nicotine is an addictive substance, and as a result, not everyone can successfully quit cold turkey. For people who feel the desire for a cigarette may be too strong, nicotine replacement therapy is a good way to reduce dependence on the substance gradually. People can choose between gums, lozenges, or patches. Studies have shown that nicotine replacements, along with actively working with a smoking cessation program, can be very effective.
3. Don’t quit alone
Choosing to quit smoking is a difficult task. People trying to quit need support from friends and family. Telling people about the plan to quit smoking helps to provide encouragement when most needed and also serves as a form of accountability to prevent people from falling back into bad habits.
4. Avoid smoking triggers
Many people tend to smoke more during specific scenarios such as when drinking alcohol or coffee, or even immediately after eating a meal. To avoid temptation, try to limit alcohol consumption or opt for tea or hot chocolate instead of coffee. For people that smoke after eating, try a new routine such as taking a walk or chewing gum.
Consider the long-term benefits
Even for people who don’t plan on starting a family for a while, the overall health benefits that come from quitting smoking can’t be ignored. Beyond improving fertility, quitting smoking can reduce a person’s risk of premature death, cardiovascular diseases, cancer, or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). And evidence shows that quitting smoking can extend a person’s life expectancy by as much as 10 years. So, regardless of the reason, quitting smoking is one of the most important things a person can do. For more information about quitting smoking, speak with a healthcare provider.