There is no doubt about the fact that smoking during pregnancy has negative side effects. They include lower birth weights, stillbirths, poor fetal growth, premature delivery, spontaneous abortions and respiratory problems once the baby is born. The U.S. Public Health Service states that if pregnant women ceased smoking, there would be an 11% drop in U.S. stillbirths and a 5% decrease in newborn deaths.
Smoking during pregnancy is like putting poison in your unborn baby’s system. This can affect your child’s whole life. In spite of the warnings, 10% of women in the United States still own up to smoking during pregnancy. The 1990 report of the US Surgeon General has stated that ‘smoking is probably the most important modifiable cause of poor pregnancy outcome among women in the United States’.
Why is it risky to smoke during pregnancy?
It is hazardous to smoke because cigarette smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, some of which are cancer-causing. When you smoke during pregnancy, all these get into your bloodstream, your baby’s single source of nutrients and oxygen.
Of all these 4,000-plus chemicals, two compounds are especially injurious (carbon monoxide and nicotine) as Medical experts say they are responsible for almost every pregnancy complication that has to do with smoking. This is because nicotine and carbon monoxide collaborate to decrease your baby’s supply of oxygen. Nicotine obstructs the free flow of oxygen by tightening blood vessels throughout your body; the ones in the umbilical cord are not spared. The situation can be likened to forcing your baby to inhale through a narrow straw. To worsen the situation, the red blood corpuscles that transmit oxygen start to draw in molecules of carbon monoxide instead. Suddenly, that narrow straw doesn’t even hold as much oxygen as it should.
As a result, your baby gets less oxygen and pronto, his or her development and growth is hampered. This can result in a baby being born too early or weighing less than 5 1/2 pounds at birth. It can even result in a still birth.
Below are the effects of smoking during pregnancy.
* Smoking cigarettes increases a woman’s risk of excessive bleeding during delivery. This can cause complications for both mother and child but the reverse will be the case if you quit smoking the moment you discover you are pregnant.
* Brain Damage – Each time a pregnant woman drags cigarette smoke into her lungs, she reduces the amount of oxygen that is supposed to go to the baby. This has the capability to cause brain damage during gestation.
* Pregnant smokers are very likely to give birth to their baby prematurely. Babies born early have more serious health problems than babies born near their expected delivery date (EDD).
* Preterm labor and Low birth weight- Smoking during pregnancy slows the growth of the baby before it is born. The more a pregnant woman smokes, the greater her chance of having a low-birth-weight baby (less than 5½ pounds). Low-birth-weight babies often have health challenges as a result of being born so tiny. In the year 2004, 11.9 percent of babies delivered by smokers in the United States weighed less than 5½ pounds, compared to 7.2 percent of babies of women who never smoked.
The more a pregnant woman smokes, the greater her risk of having a low-birth weight baby. However, if a woman stops smoking before week 15 of pregnancy, their risk of spontaneous premature birth and having small babies becomes the same as women who don’t smoke. This is according to a research published on the British Medical Journal website.
* A child born by a smoking mother is very likely to have respiratory problems once born. Each time you drag in cigarette smoke, the cord carrying oxygen and nutrients to the baby tightens. As time goes by, the cord can completely get severed and the baby gets less oxygen. This results in babies with low birth weight or breathing problems like asthma or bronchitis.
* Still talking about respiratory problems, let’s quickly look at asthma. Cigarette smoking does cause asthma to babies born by smoking mothers. About 26,000 children develop asthma (every year) because they’re exposed to so much secondhand smoke. Smoking has horrible effects on everyone, especially children.
* The baby of a smoking mother is more likely to die of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). SIDS can be defined as the unexpected and unexplainable (after detailed medical investigation) death of a child less than 12 months of age. Sometimes called Crib or Cot death, it’s also known as sudden unexplained death in infancy (SUDI). According to the SIDS Network, “many more children die of SIDS in a year than all who die of cancer, heart disease, pneumonia, child abuse, AIDS, cystic fibrosis and muscular dystrophy combined.”
* Stillbirths – A study published in the April 2011 edition of the journal Pediatrics, found secondhand smoking blew up the risk of still birth by almost 23 per cent. It was also connected to a 13 per cent increased risk of inherited birth defects.
Even if the pregnant woman doesn’t smoke, breathing in the passive smoke of other people increases the danger of giving birth to stillborn babies or babies with defects.
How to Motivate Yourself to Quit While Pregnant
You can motivate yourself to quit smoking during pregnancy by looking at the effects of smoking. Looking at pictures of individuals with lung cancer and other type of complications that came from smoking will also help. Yet another strong motivator is thinking about your kids not having a mother, your husband not having a wife because you decided to smoke. Some women think that being pregnant is motivation enough, but for most people, thinking about being terminally ill or, even worse, dying could be the best motivator.
Also read magazines or books about what smoking while pregnant could do to the babies. This will keep you focused.
Avoid Secondhand Smoke
Aside abstaining from smoking during pregnancy, mothers should not smoke when the baby is born. Neither should anyone around them; get support from your spouse. He should be able to quit for the sake of your unborn child.
If your husband also smokes, you can decide to quit together. Working as a team really helps.
Smoking while pregnant is like gambling with your child’s health. While we agree some children, whose mothers smoked and drank during pregnancy, have no health complications, there are far more that come out with all kinds of health challenges and the pains they go through cannot be equated to whatever pleasure the mothers allegedly got from smoking. It’s just not worth the risk.
How to Quit Smoking during Pregnancy
* Even though all the tips in this article have been well researched, we will like to say that you consult your doctor and follow his instructions if you want to quit smoking during pregnancy.
* First, you have to really want to quit. Then tell your self that you CAN quit smoking, don’t doubt it, because doubt will make you think it’s okay to just have one more cigarette.
* Also, keep a water bottle by your side at all times. Each time you get the urge to smoke, drink some water. It will help flush the nicotine out of your system faster. A sip of orange juice now and then will also help calm the cravings.
* Going cold turkey may help but have some gum or lozenges, in case you’re really tempted. Quitting cold turkey may not affect your baby, especially if you quit very early in your pregnancy. Ask your Doctor to be sure though.
* Remind yourself how the money you are spending on cigarettes can go towards baby things!
* Also, try eating balanced and healthy meals; this keeps you in the right frame of mind and helps your body function well.
* Remind yourself that the first 3 days are the hardest, but once you’re over that, it gets easier. And every single smoke or puff you have after that destroys all your hard work! Just stay strong and remember the longer you keep smoking, the harder it gets to quit.
* Aside drinking lots of water, please do lots of exercise as a study recently showed that exercise could be a useful tool in helping pregnant women to give up smoking.
* You may not be able to use nicotine replacement therapies while pregnant and medications like chantix are not approved for use during pregnancy. You will have to consult your doctor for further advice.
* Choose a date (around the corner) that you are going to give up cigarettes and toss them out that day. The first day to the third may be tasking (as you already expect), but by the 4th day, you’ll be fine.
* Try to have enough SLEEP as it can help you get through the initial hours of quitting smoking.
* You can also quit through hypnosis. It has worked for others, it may work for you.
One thing you should note while trying to quit is; we are all different and our bodies handle things differently. Follow your doctor’s instructions religiously in order to quit smoking successfully.Remember people quit smoking every day and so can you.Stay strong, you can do it, and find support wherever people are willing to give it.
Smoking during Breastfeeding is bad
The nicotine and all the other toxins that are in cigarette smoke do cross into breast milk, just as they do cross the placenta while a baby is in the womb,so,please abstain from smoking during breastfeeding.You are passing toxins into your baby’s system.
There you have it,effects of smoking during pregnancy. They are so terrible and even if quitting sounds a little bit tough,just remind yourself that the health of your little tot is all that matters. Download this free smoking during pregnancy ebook for more help. You will also find this ebook by the campaign for tobacco-free kids useful.