Does Smoking Affect Sperm Count?

QUESTION

Dear Midwife,

My wife and I have a 4-year-old daughter, we are trying to have another.

I have a few questions:
(1) When is the best time to conceive?
(2) Will current tobacco use have any effect any my sperm count, etc.?
(3) Is 4 too young to be in the delivery room for the next child?
(4) What is the best way to keep one child from being jealous of the new baby?

ANSWER

(1) When is the best time to conceive?
During ovulation. It is good to have sperm there ahead of time.

(2) Will current tobacco use have any effect any my sperm count, etc.?
Probably. The evidence is mixed. But you need to quit anyway, both for the sake of your own health and for your daughter's (your smoking puts her at higher risk of many diseases, including breast cancer).

(3) Is 4 too young to be in the delivery room for the next child?
No. She should attend a sibling class to prepare, and you should see how she responds to seeing her mom in pain and seeing body fluids. Most kids that age are fascinated by the whole process, but a few are scared. You should have a separate adult present just for her so that if she chooses not to participate, that person can take her out of the delivery room without you having to leave.

(4) What is the best way to keep one child from being jealous of the new baby?
There is a great book called Welcoming Your Second Baby by Vicki Lancky with tons of ideas.

-- Cynthia, CNM. PhD.

Cynthia Flynn

Cynthia Flynn, CNM. PhD, is the General Director of the Family Health and Birth Center which provides prenatal, birth, postnatal, gynecological and primary health care to underserved women and their families in Washington, D.C. Recently Cynthia served as Associate Professor of Nursing at Seattle University. There she not only taught, but remained in full scope clinical midwifery practice at Valley Medical Center where she cared for pregnant and birthing women, and practices well-woman gynecology, family planning, and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases.

Cynthia founded Columbia Women's Clinic and Birth Center, where she took care of pregnant women and infants up to two weeks of age and attended both birth center and hospital births. Before Cynthia earned her CNM, she worked as a registered nurse in labor and delivery and postpartum and is a certified Doula and Doula trainer.