Smoking and pregnancy equals problems. Smoking and pregnancy are two words that definitely do not and should not belong together. A woman who smokes during pregnancy exposes herself and her unborn child to immense health risks. This is obvious if you just take into consideration the fact that cigarette smoke contains more than 2000 component, which includes very harmful nicotine, carbon monoxide and cyanide. The majority of these substances is absorbed by the placenta and affects the baby without the mother even noticing a thing.
Fetal growth restrictions – The most concerning effect of smoking during pregnancy is probably that on fetal growth. A new born of a woman who smokes weighs approximately 170 to 200 grams lighter when compared to the average weight of non-smokers’ baby. This can be attributed to the narrowing of oxygen and nutrients transporting blood vessels, which leads to low birth weight and general ill health tendency for the rest of the it’s life. The amount of cigarettes a woman smokes has a direct impact on the level of weight reduction.
Research findings – Researchers have found proof that smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of genetic abnormalities including cleft lip or palate, bowel, eyes, ears or spinal cord malformations or problems and last but definitely not least respiratory problems in the form of Asthma. Placenta abnormalities are also more common. It’s imperative to keep in mind that the effect of smoking goes way beyond birth. For example an increased risk of respiratory problem development as previously mentioned, during toddler or teenage years. The health benefits of quitting your much loved smokes are undoubtedly immense, this is particularly true and of great significance for pregnant women.
Putting the packet down – permanently will of course be the preferred choice but we all know quitting flat-out is easier said than done. Approximately 20 per cent of pregnant women smoke and over 50 per cent of the 20 percent smoke more than 10 cigarettes per day. An unbelievable four per cent of pregnant women manage to quit smoking within the first trimester of pregnancy. Its common knowledge that if you are able to quit smoking in the first trimester of pregnancy, that your chances of having a normal sized baby at birth increases almost to a 100 per cent. This does, however, not mean that any level of smoking is safe or encouraged. Quitting always comes highly recommended. Reducing the amount of cigarettes you nip will still result in exposure of both you and your child to harmful substances, just to a lesser degree. If you find quitting your bad habit completely impossible-keep one very important piece of advice in mind- “more smokes equals more effects on your child”.
How will smoking affect actual pregnancy? – Smoking will without a doubt affect actual pregnancy and not just the unborn child. Smoking causes increased heart rate, hypertension and nervous system suppression, which not only effects the baby but can also increase the risk of developing complications for the mother, of which chest infections and blood clotting disorders are a common concern.
Other risks – Smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy, miscarriages, stillbirths, pre-mature births, placenta malformations, morning sickness often requiring hospitalization, bleeding, polyhydramnios, thrush and urinary tract infections including Candida.
Link between smoking and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome – Researchers have found solid proof of the link between smoking during pregnancy and an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Evidence also suggests an increase in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome if the father smokes while the mother is pregnant. Preferably both parents-to-be should quit smoking during pregnancy. Here the rule will apply again- the more smokes equals the more the risk of SIDS.
After birth tips – It’s absolutely imperative to keep your baby in a smoke-free environment at all times, no matter how practically impossible it may seem. Stop friends, family or even strangers from smoking in your home, vehicle or any other area near the baby.
Facts on second hand smoke – Second hand smoke also known as passive smoke or environmental tobacco smoke comprises of burning cigarette smoke and exhaled smoker smoke. Medical as well as scientific proof exists to support the fact that the smoke burning-off a cigarette or cigar end actually contains more harmful substances when compared to the first-hand smoke inhaled by the smoker. Should you be one of those unlucky non-smokers who are regularly exposed to second-hand smoke, you will increase your and your new born child’s chance of developing repertory cancer, heart disease, emphysema, allergies, asthma, and other health problems, significantly. Babies exposed to second-hand smoke also have a higher risk of developing reduced lung capacity.
There is definitely a lengthy list of effects on smoking while pregnant and so many different variations of ways that smoking during pregnancy can affect the mother and the fetus. Trying to quit smoking isn’t an option at this point, it is a must. There is too much at risk for your own health and for your soon to be new born child. Take advantage of all support groups and programs that are available to gain a fresh healthier way of living.