Updated: Nov 21, 2020
It's difficult when you're trying to conceive and you smoke. The questions will still continue to pop up, will it harm my eggs? Should I stop if I'm going for IVF? How do I being to quit? It's too hard.
I came across a Facebook post which asked the question "Is it bad to smoke while doing IVF?" I was amazed that many people, men and women, find it difficult to give up while they are trying to conceive and not many people know the effects of smoking while trying to conceive. Which lead me to seek advice from Narelle Stegehuis MHSc. HM. Narelle is a leading natural health provider accredited by the International Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine and the Fertility Society of Australia and the founder of Bump Fertility. In this blog, she discusses the impact of smoking on your eggs and sperm and talks about the body repairing itself once you stop smoking.
Quitting isn’t easy. But the right support can make the process not only easier but also more successful. Ideally, if you’re thinking of trying to conceive, you should try to stop smoking at least 6 months before you’re pregnant and follow my five steps to flushing it out of your system.
Quitting is always possible and if you are trying to conceive, you need to. Smoking ages and damages ovaries, eggs, sperm and your uterus. It affects hormone production and triggers autoimmune problems – all leading causes of ectopic pregnancy or early pregnancy loss. What you may not realise is, it is also linked to neonatal death, birth defects and childhood/adolescent health problems.
The good news is, once you quit, your body begins to repair the damage, although there is no research to say your fertility rate will return to normal. Depending on how long and how regularly you smoked for, you may need to give your body a helping hand. Nicotine withdrawal and restoring fertility health takes an integrated approach, including Western Herbal Medicine, hypnosis, functional nutrition and generative meditation.
Quitting smoking is tough because once hooked, the body begins adjusting its physiology to the effects of nicotine to the extent that your brain and cells need the nicotine for normal functioning, which is why quitting cold turkey without support is so hard. Fortunately, nootropic herbs have the potential to help the body recover from this reliance on nicotine.
As a herbalist for over 30 years specialising in early pregnancy loss and pre conceptive care, let’s look at what you need to do to get your body baby ready after smoking:
# 1. Stop the cravings. Considering hypnosis, generative meditation and herbal medicine. Herbs such as raspberry leaf (Rubus idaeus, Avena savita) along with other beneficial herbs to support anxiety and provide emotional support, take the edge off cravings.
# 2. Get nicotine out of your system faster, improve implantation, purify your blood, increase uterine oxygenation and flush toxins out of your body with infrared sauna’s and herbs to speed up excretion and reduce oxidative stress. Polygonum cuspidatum, an herb containing high levels of resveratrol, Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum) and Matcha (Camellia sinensis) are all helpful in detoxification and restoring healthy DNA.
# 3. Support your nervous system to help ease withdrawal symptoms associated with nicotine use, such as irritability, impatience, hostility, depression, anxiety, increased appetite (weight gain), impaired concentration, and bradycardia. Herbs such as St Mary’s Thistle (Silybum marianum), Nigella (Nigella Savita) and St John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) provide invaluable support.
# 4. Reverse harmful effects and protect foetal development with herbs to reduce inflammation and reactive oxygenative stress (ROS). Two leading causes of mitochondrial damage of eggs, sperm and the developing foetus. Powerful herbs such as Polygonum cuspidatum, Ginkgo (Ginkgo Biloba) and Turmeric (Curcuma longa) are all helpful.
# 5. Maximise nutritional status and improve neurotransmitter pathways in the brain. Smoking depletes the body of key nutrients such as choline, B12, C, D3, B vitamins and E. These are essential nutrients for conception, pregnancy maintenance and healthy baby development. Neurotransmitters such as dopamine, glutamate and norepinephrine, are all needed for neurodevelopment and health and the herb Rhodiola Rosea(Rhodiola) assists in restoring balance.
The good news is targeted detoxification programs start reversing the damaging effects of smoking straight away and help the body to cope with withdrawal so you can be baby ready faster.
Are you ready to conceive? Check now with our online tool http://dispensary.bumpfertility.com.au/minihrq/#/form
Narelle Stegehuis MHSc. HM is a leading natural health provider accredited by the International Institute for Restorative Reproductive Medicine and the Fertility Society of Australia. Helping women conceive for over 20 years, Narelle is passionate about accelerated reproductive age reversal and paediatric health. Narelle provides specialised content for Torrens University and media publications such as New Idea, Woman's Day, and Women's Fitness magazines. Narelle strives to create community awareness and affordable programs for the management of complex reproductive and paediatric health disorders. www.bumpfertility.com.au
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