Cigarette smoking and other tobacco use has a direct effect on fertility and pregnancy, and unfortunately, it’s a negative effect. Of all the “easier said than done” things in the entire world, using tobacco might be the best example. But quitting does make a significant difference. If you smoke or consume tobacco and have been meaning to stop, now is the absolute best time for you to start working on quitting.
How tobacco affects fertility
The American Society for Reproductive Medicine reports that infertility rates in both male and female smokers are about twice what they are in non-smokers who are trying to conceive. Cigarette smoke can damage and kill off eggs, as well as decrease sperm quality, sperm count, and sperm motility (which is sperm’s ability to move until it reaches the egg).
Women who smoke may go through menopause one to four years earlier than women who don’t, and the sperm of men who smoke is far less likely to fertilize eggs. Smoking can also make IVF treatments for infertility less effective.
How tobacco affects pregnancy
Smoking during pregnancy can lead to serious health problems for a mother and her developing baby. Some risks of smoking during pregnancy include increased fetal heart rate, lower amounts of oxygen, placental problems, increased chances of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and low birth rate, increased risk of baby respiratory problems, higher risk of birth defects, and even an increased rate of SIDS.
Even smokeless tobacco can have harmful effects on growing babies, with some studies linking its use to earlier gestational age at birth, and breathing problems in newborns.
Norfolk Southern employees and eligible dependents have access to a few different programs and services that can help you with quitting smoking, or use of other tobacco products.
If you’re enrolled in the UHC medical plan, you may receive coverage for different tobacco cessation prescriptions. You can give UHC a call at (888) 496-8939 to learn more.
Through Norfolk Southern, you also have access to a program called Quit For Life. Quit For Life offers a 95% satisfaction rate, and provides:
- Tools and support to help members quit cigarettes, e-cigarettes, vaping, and other nicotine delivery systems.
- Online tools and support that may help you quit at your own pace and live tobacco-free.
- Unlimited, 24/7 access to a Quit Coach® who will help you create a customized Action Plan.
- Text2Quit® text messages for daily tips, encouragement and reminders
- Tobacco cessation medication to help control and overcome tobacco cravings, such as nicotine gum or patches — for no charge, based on eligibility.
If you want to quit using tobacco, Quit For Life and UHC can help. You can reach a team member at Quit For Life directly at (866) QUIT4LIFE (866-784-8454). You can also tap the button below to visit Quit For Life’s website. You can also download Quit For Life’s mobile app from the App Store or Google Play.