Pregnancy and smoking cigarettes don’t go well together. After all, poisoning yourself is one thing, but deliberately exposing your unborn child to poisonous fumes is quite another.
Side effects of smoking cigarettes – When you smoke cigarettes you inhale carbon monoxide, this causes an oxygen deficiency in the body, as a result of this the placenta begins to expand and spread to the other parts of the uterus in an attempt to draw in more oxygen.
This in simple terms means-
a) There is an increased risk of miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
b) You may have to undergo a caesarean delivery as your baby may develop too close to the opening of your womb (the condition is called placenta previa).
c) Not only do you end up exposing your baby to increased chances of premature birth but also SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
d) There are greater chances of still birth.
e) Your baby is likely to have less muscle mass, as nicotine reduces the amount of oxygen the baby gets; thereby restricting his/her blood supply. What’s worse is that even though pregnant smokers eat more than non-smokers, their babies still weigh less. Smaller babies tend to have a weak immune system and often need frequent hospitalization.
f) The low oxygen supply and poisonous fumes also sometimes lead to learning disabilities in children.
g) There is a great risk of the baby developing infant respiratory syndrome.
¬ Some health experts believe that babies of mothers who smoke also develop nicotine addiction, this makes them rather restless. In fact the chances of these babies taking up smoking cigarettes when they grow up are also more.
¬ Some research studies have also suggested the smoking cigarettes during pregnancy increases the risk of babies’ developing psychological disorders when they grow up.*
¬ Smoking cigarettes also increases the mother’s blood pressure and often leads to complications during labor.
¬ Women who smoke during their pregnancy are at a greater risk of developing urinary tract infections as well.
The next vital question now is, how late or early should you quit cigarettes?
Ideally, you should quit before you start trying for a baby. But if for some reason you couldn’t or had an unplanned pregnancy, you should quit smoking cigarettes as soon as you find out! Don’t give up the idea of quitting if you haven’t been able to in the first few months, the sooner your quit cigarettes the better it will be for your baby’s health.
Even passive smoking should be avoided, it is almost as bad as smoking yourself. So, if you are trying for a baby or are already pregnant you must encourage your partner/spouse to stop smoking too. If not for their own health, then at least for your and the unborn baby’s sake. In case your partner doesn’t quit smoking or is unable to, make sure they don’t do it while you are around to inhale the poisonous fumes.
In fact even after pregnancy the baby must be protected from nicotine, especially while you are breast feeding. Exposure to nicotine can lead to development of several health problems in babies including colic, nausea, diarrhea, etc.
Second hand fumes too are equally harmful, not only can they cause respiratory problems and lung infections in babies but may also affect your baby’s natural development. It is therefore important to ensure that your baby’s environment is completely smoke free.
At the end of the day, carelessness towards your own health may be excusable but deliberately harming a new life that you planning to bring into this world is not something you would want on your conscience, correct? So, take the decision to quit smoking for your babies sake, the risk is just too high.