Today’s article comes to us from ChildMode.com, a website which provides first-time millennial parents the lowdown on pregnancy and babies with stage-by-stage info, expert advice, breaking news, and style inspiration.
Smoking during pregnancy puts both you and your unborn child at an increased risk of health complications. Second-hand smoking can also affect you and your unborn baby.
Even though most people are aware that smoking during pregnancy is risky, some women still keep at it even during pregnancy.
Women who smoke during pregnancy are twice as likely to give birth to low-birth-weight babies, and they are also at increased risks of problems like preterm labor and miscarriages. Low birth weight babies are more susceptible to infections, at a higher risk of death, long-term health problems when they are older, and breathing difficulties.
Keeping up the habit of smoking during pregnancy continues to expose your unborn baby to these health issues. To understand why you should quit smoking during pregnancy, you should understand the risks.
Pregnancy Complications from Smoking
Pregnant women who smoke are more at risk of ectopic pregnancies. An ectopic pregnancy occurs outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube.
They are also at risk of miscarriage and can have problems with their placenta. Smoking during pregnancy can induce early detachment of the placenta from the uterine wall and end up blocking the cervical opening.
Smoking during pregnancy can also propel premature rupture of membranes as well as early labor and fetal death.
Effects of Smoking During Pregnancy on the Baby
Each time you smoke a cigarette during pregnancy, you cut down your unborn baby’s oxygen and expose the unborn baby to a cocktail of chemicals, including some that could cause cancer. The reduced oxygen supply is as a result of carbon monoxide and nicotine produced from smoking cigarettes.
Smoking during pregnancy puts your unborn baby at risk of retarded growth and development. You also put your baby at risk of developing a cleft palate and a cleft lip.
An hour after smoking a cigarette, you may notice decreased fetal movements in your womb. Smoking can also potentially change your baby’s brain and lungs.
How Second-hand Smoking Affects Your Pregnancy
Breathing second-hand smoke when you’re pregnant can also affect the baby’s health by increasing the risk of:
- Pregnancy loss
- Low birth weight
- SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
- Asthma attacks
- A congenital disability
- Ear infections
Problems for Your Child Later in Life Due to Smoking During Pregnancy
Children born of women who smoked during pregnancy could have health problems like:
- Higher risk of asthma
- Weaker lungs
- Increased risk of being obese and overweight in childhood
- Increased risk of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder)
- Low birth weight can be linked to type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure as they grow older
Quitting Smoking During Pregnancy
Ideally, once you find out you are pregnant, you should stop smoking. However, only half of pregnant women quit when pregnancy is confirmed or planned. Pregnant women looking to quit smoking can seek help or see their health professional for advice and information.
Luckily, some specialists give free support for pregnant women, and they also help you remain a non-smoker even after giving birth.
If you have been trying to quit smoking, but it seems to be more challenging than you think, do not despair. If you keep trying, you can be able to quit smoking in the fourth month of your pregnancy and still reduce some of the risks associated with smoking during pregnancy, such as premature birth and low birth weight.
Should You Try Nicotine Replacement Therapy During Pregnancy?
We recommend trying to quit smoking during pregnancy without medication. However, if the natural way is not working for you, you could try using nicotine replacement therapy such as lozenges, inhalator, gum, mouth spray, or 16-hour patches to aid with the process.
However, even though these products are considered much safer than smoking, exposing the baby to a smaller amount of nicotine does mean that they will be entirely risk-free for your unborn baby.
Before using nicotine replacement therapy if you are pregnant, make sure to consult your doctor to discuss the benefits and risks of using.
Most nicotine replacement products can be bought over-the-counter. However, if you opt to use a nicotine patch, we recommend that you minimize your unborn baby’s exposure to the small traces of nicotine by removing the patch when you sleep.
What Can You Do To Quit Smoking?
The first step is deciding to quit. Once you have decided, consult your health care provider for further advice and seek additional counseling.
The next step should be to get rid of all smoking materials in your home, office, and car and make all your spaces smoke-free. You should also avoid situations that could make you want to smoke.
Spending time with people who don’t smoke can also help you progress your efforts. It also helps to visit places where smoking is not allowed.
Turn to your family and friends for support. We recommend setting a goal of creating a reward for when you meet an objective. For example, if you have stayed for a certain length of time without smoking, you can use whatever you would have spent on smoking to buy your baby something.
Visit childmode.com to learn more about smoking and pregnancy.