Quitting smoking, even if you’re already pregnant, can make a big difference in your baby’s life. Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body and can cause serious health conditions, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, gum disease and eye diseases that can lead to blindness. Pregnancy is a great time for you to quit smoking. You will feel better and have more energy to go through your pregnancy. You will also reduce your risks of future health problems.
Is smoke during pregnancy so dangerous?
The answer is YES. Women should not smoke before, during or after pregnancy. If this is not the case, however, the daily number of cigarettes can be reduced to minimize the risks for both the mother and child. It is recommended for women planning pregnancy to stop smoking. It is important to examine these effects because smoking before, during and after pregnancy is not an unusual behavior among the general population and can have detrimental health impacts, especially among both mother and child as a result. Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including at least 60 cancer-causing compounds.
When you smoke during pregnancy, that toxic brew gets into your bloodstream, your baby’s only source of oxygen and nutrients. The most serious complications – including stillbirth, premature delivery, and low birth weight – can be chalked up to the fact that nicotine and carbon monoxide work together to reduce your baby’s supply of oxygen. Nicotine chokes off oxygen by narrowing blood vessels throughout your body. It’s a little like forcing your baby to breathe through a narrow straw. To make matters worse, the red blood cells that carry oxygen start to pick up molecules of carbon monoxide instead. That narrow straw doesn’t even hold as much oxygen as it should.
What smoking does to an unborn baby?
A shortage of oxygen can have devastating effects on your baby’s growth and development. On average, smoking during pregnancy doubles the chances that a baby will be born too early or weigh less than 5 1/2 pounds at birth.
How smoking affects your baby:
A baby whose mother smoked in the first trimester of pregnancy is more likely to have a heart defect at birth.
Weight and size Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are, on average, much smaller than those born to women who don’t smoke. A pack-a-day habit during pregnancy will shave about a half-pound from a baby’s birth weight.
Body and lungs Their lungs may not be ready to work on their own, which means they may spend their first days or weeks attached to a respirator.
Brain function Smoking during pregnancy can have lifelong effects on your baby’s brain. Children of pregnant smokers are especially likely to have learning disorders, behavioral problems, and relatively low IQs. Smoking while you’re pregnant increases your chances of having a miscarriage or stillbirth.
Even though you’re aware of the dangers of smoking, it’s not always easy to give up the habit. The pull of nicotine can overwhelm your good intentions and even override your devotion to your child. That’s why you shouldn’t try to quit on your own. Talk to your doctor about different ways to quit. Ask your partner and other people around you for support.
It won’t be easy, but don’t give up. There’s somebody counting on you.
There is nothing more valuable than being healthy.