Pregnancy suddenly means that you have to
look out for another human. On this life-changing journey, mothers take it upon
themselves to make sure the baby is developing in the healthiest way possible.
Unfortunately, some pregnant women,
despite knowing the importance, still haven’t managed to kick the smoking
Smoking during pregnancy doesn’t make you
a bad mother, but it could mean that you could benefit from a little support
along the way. The good news is, you’re not alone.
Over 10% of pregnant women continue to
smoke during pregnancy for a variety of reasons. During pregnancy, your
hormones are all over the place. It can be such a crazy and challenging time
because your body has to adopt through a host of many bodily changes.
Between the number of times you have to
pee every two seconds, the swollen boobs, and worrying about having everything
ready before the baby arrives, you may find yourself understandably anxious
before the baby arrives.
Women who are used to combating stress by
lighting up a cigarette could find themselves doing the same thing during
pregnancy since it was a natural go-to.
The kind of stigma that surrounds
pregnant women who smoke doesn’t help either. Feelings judged could leave you
feeling down and alone, or heighten your stress, either of which push you to
light up a cigarette.
That said, quitting smoking during
pregnancy is definitely the best choice for both you and your unborn baby.
Let’s look at why quitting is the best thing to do:
When a pregnant woman smokes, so does the
baby. A single cigarette has 4,000 chemicals, most of which end up in your
lungs when you smoke. When these chemicals are in your lungs, nicotine, carbon
monoxide, and poisons cross the placenta into the baby’s bloodstream.
Nicotine reduces blood flow in the
mother’s placenta because it narrows the blood vessels. Less blood means fewer
nutrients, and oxygen is reaching the fetus. As a result, the baby may not grow
as well as should be expected.
Because of the toxins that can
potentially damage the placenta from cigarette smoke, dangerous problems like
placental abruption are increased. With placental abruption, the mother’s
placenta could start to come off the womb wall.
According to the CDC, pregnant women who smoke
are more at risk of placental abruption, which could potentially lead to kidney
failure and blood loss, as well as increased risk of stillbirth.
These toxins also affect the development
and growth of the baby, hence increasing the risk of prematurity, miscarriage,
stillbirth, and low birth weight.
Smoking during pregnancy also increases
your likelihood of developing lung conditions like COPD, heart disease, and
other types of cancers.
Your blood in your unborn baby’s sole
source of nutrients and oxygen while in your womb, delivered via the umbilical
cord, meaning whatever you breathe in, so does your baby.
As previously mentioned, harmful
chemicals like nicotine and carbon monoxide from cigarettes enter the mother’s
bloodstream, restricts the baby’s oxygen supply, which causes your baby’s heart
rate to speed up in an effort to compensate.
Oxygen supply is essential to the baby’s
development and growth. Hence oxygen shortage can be detrimental to your unborn
baby. Pregnant women who smoke are far more likely to give month to premature
or babies with low birth weight.
Babies who are preterm or have low birth
weight become more susceptible to breathing problems and infections. Such
babies are more likely to remain in hospital longer than healthy weight babies
to receive further health care.
Babies who are exposed to cigarette smoke
are exposed to an increased risk of congenital disabilities like being born
with a cleft palate or cleft lip.
But the risks of smoking during pregnancy
also increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome. Pregnant women also
put their kids at further risk as they grow up.
Compared to children of non-smokers,
smoker’s children are more likely to be exposed to a range of behavior and
health problems like infections of the airways, colic, asthma, ear infections,
autism, and ADHD.
Kids born to smokers are also at
increased risk of having behavioral problems and learning difficulties as they
grow because smoking can damage the baby’s brain development.
Children born to smokers are also at an
increased risk of cot death. They are also more likely to become smokers when
they grow older.
In addition to all the effects of smoking
during pregnancy, you will experience the full benefits of smoking cessation
almost immediately and at any stage of your pregnancy.
Even with just a day of smoking
cessation, your baby will be back on track for increased oxygen supply and
healthy development. Not to mention, you will also notice a difference in your
Quitting smoking will also help ease
anxiety by promoting a healthy pregnancy and making both you and the baby less
likely to develop smoking-related health issues in the future.
Instead of lighting a cigarette, we
recommend putting your energy into creating a healthy and positive environment
for you and your baby.
Many pregnant women have given up smoking
successfully. We recommend telling your midwife during your first antenatal
appointment, about your lifestyle, particularly whether or not you recently
The midwife will also ask if there is
anyone in your home who smokes. If you still smoke, it’s crucial to let your
midwife know so that she or he can help you in whatever way they can and give
you quitting advice.
While in the past, you may have swept the
idea of quitting smoking under the rug, now that you’re pregnant could require
you to reconsider now that you have a nipper on the way.
Even after you quit smoking, but someone
in your household still does, ask them not to do it near you. The effects of
second-hand smoking can be just as detrimental as breathing in cigarette smoke.
Visit childmode to learn more tips
to quit smoking.
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