Pregnancy requires a woman to make major alterations to her lifestyle habits. One such change is “Quitting smoking”. When your OB gives you a list of the DO’S and DON’TS for the next nine months, Smoking finds its spot among the “DON’TS” somewhere above or below alcohol. Smoking is damaging to both but poses greater health risks to the unborn child. It is the root cause of many birth defects.
Despite this, many women continue to light up. This lifestyle habit is so deeply embedded that many cannot do without a few puffs in a day. Our aim is to educate expectant couples on the potential dangers of Smoking during pregnancy.
The Negative Impacts of Smoking
Smoking during pregnancy impairs your baby’s health both during and after pregnancy. Cigarette smoke contains toxic substances such as nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, cyanide, lead and various other cancer-causing compounds. When you inhale cigarette smoke, these chemical substances enter your bloodstream. The bloodstream is your baby’s main source of oxygen and nourishment.
Nicotine present in cigarette smoke narrows the blood vessels coursing through your body and the umbilical cord. Thus, it cuts your baby’s oxygen supply. The reduced supply of oxygen is known to have the following impacts.
- Increases the risk of premature or preterm babies
- Increases the risk of miscarriage
- Doubles the risk of stillborn babies
- It may also cause placental abruption (the placenta gets detached from the womb).
- Low birth weight – The baby weighs less than 5 pounds at birth. It may stunt your baby’s growth for a lifetime.
- Respiratory Problems – When you smoke during pregnancy, the baby’s vital systems remain underdeveloped. This includes the respiratory system. The delayed lung development forces your little one to depend on a respirator for the first few days after birth. After that, your baby may continue to suffer breathing problems. Smoking doubles the risk of asthma and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
- Impact on the heart – Expectant women who smoke during the first trimester and throughout pregnancy make their baby more vulnerable to congenital birth defects. The decreased supply of oxygen causes an increase in the heart rate.
- Impact on the brain – You literally impair your child’s life if you smoke when pregnant. Children whose mothers smoke during pregnancy develop behavioral problems, learning disorders and low IQs.
Second-hand of Smoking During Pregnancy
You must be wondering what the term “Second-hand smoking” implies. Second-hand Smoking is a situation in which you don’t smoke, but are exposed to smoke in your immediate surroundings. Something like; you don’t smoke, but your husband smokes.
Second-hand smoke contains a lower proportion of chemicals. However, it can be equally damaging because, in the end, you inhale the smoke. Babies exposed to such second-hand smoke develop a greater risk of heart diseases, emphysema, lung cancer, asthma and allergies. Thus, you should urge the person to stop Smoking or try as much to stay away.
How can you Quit Smoking During pregnancy?
No smoking limit considered safe during pregnancy. Quitting is the only solution. It does get difficult and sometimes seems impossible. But, you have to do it, if not for yourself for your baby. We have a short write up titled “how to quit smoking during pregnancy”. It hands out tips to make the transition easy and safe for both you and your baby. We advise you skim through.
I am sure the last thing you would want to do is expose your child to danger. So, make a healthy decision today.
As stated above, Smoking is injurious to the health of the mother and her unborn baby. When a pregnant woman smokes, she exposes her baby to harmful toxins like nicotine and carbon monoxide. These substances in tobacco smoke restrict the supply of oxygen to the fetus through the blood and increase the heart rate. Not only this, they affect the placental function and could result in preterm babies and low birth weight. Thus, pregnant women must give up Smoking.
Many expectant mothers are ever willing to abstain from cigarettes for the sake of their little one. Doing so is not going to be very easy, especially for women who have been smoking for many years, but it is also not impossible!
We will help make this tough decision a fruitful one for you.
Accept your addiction
Some so many women continue to light up despite knowing the potential hazards of Smoking during pregnancy. Thus, your strongest point is to admit to your addiction. Only then will you be willing to give it up.
Commit, Set a Goal and Respect it
Chalk out a plan with the answers for “When” and “How’. Set a date on which you plan to stop smoking. Decide how you are going to do it- Cold Turkey or cutting back gradually. Let others know of your decision to give up Smoking during of pregnancy.
Don’t Lose Resolve
Pregnancy is already known to be a roller coaster ride. And the decision to give up Smoking at this stage will make it a wee bit difficult. The withdrawal symptoms, the cravings and temptations, the restless feeling on smelling a whiff of smoke in the distance will compel you to go light up. But don’t lose resolve. Remind yourself why you are doing it.
A good support system can help you work through the toughest situations in life, whether it’s de-addiction, a financial crisis or a serious illness. Enlisting the support and help of your spouse, parents, friends and family with double your chances for success. The positive vibes you receive will encourage and keep you motivated throughout this touch struggle. You can if you feel comfortable also join an online support group.
Wean off Gradually
Some pregnant women choose to quit cold turkey. However, the sudden transition gets tough. Instead of giving up the habit or addiction abruptly, you can cut back gradually. Reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke every day. It makes it easier to lessen addiction by the time you reach your due date.
Consult Your Doctor
Whatever you do during those fragile nine months, should always be done with doctor’s permission and under his guidance. The first important thing is to tell the doctor that you smoke and are planning to quit. He will help determine the most effective strategies for you.
Many smokers who have quit Smoking suggest replacing cigarettes with chewing gum. It keeps the mouth busy and distracts attention.
When the going gets tough, you may want to seek professional help. You can visit your local counselor. There are also many counselors, organizations and societies that offer counseling free of cost over the phone.
Many suggest Nicotine Replacement Therapy – nasal sprays, patches and gum. However, they contain nicotine too and may be equally harmful. Therefore, we do not recommend it when already pregnant. You can definitely use this method to stop a smoking habit before you get pregnant.