Smoking Mothers May Have Less Fertile Sons

Pregnant woman with cigarette.By Emily Murray

We all know that smoking during pregnancy is strongly advised against and can lead to problems like low birth weight and even miscarriage or still birth. However,  even if a woman does give birth to a surprisingly healthy child, the damage may not have yet shown itself.

A new study recently published in the journal Human Reproduction demonstrated that sperm quality can be impacted in the children of a pregnant smoking mother. While the testing was done in mice, it’s believed that the same finding would hold true in humans as well. The male offspring of the mice who were exposed to the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes a day while pregnant and nursing developed sperm that were of poor quality, making them less fertile.

Among the many systems impacted, scientists discovered that cigarette smoke impacts the stem cells in the testes which can result in permanently low sperm production.

For this reason, and the countless others that we currently know, you would likely think that no pregnant mothers would smoke. Unfortunately, current statistics show us that around 20% of American women do continue smoking during pregnancy.