Smoking and Pregnancy
Women who become pregnant must stop smoking immediately. Those who do not quit ultimately leave their baby vulnerable to potentially serious, and sometimes lethal, health issues. When women continue to smoke during pregnancy, they put themselves and their babies at risk.
When you smoke a cigarette you are putting over 4,000 toxic chemicals into your body. These chemicals go straight into your bloodstream, and they circulate right to your baby. Carbon monoxide is one of these chemicals, and it serves to cut oxygen to your baby. Each cigarette that a mother smokes disrupts the blood flow to her baby by about 15 seconds. This can lead to serious complications during birth.
Health Risk To The Mother
- Complications during pregnancy and labour process
- Increased risk of excess bleeding and miscarriage
- Increased chance of delivering a premature or stillborn baby
Health Risk To The Baby
- Low birth weight and overall weakness
- Stunted growth of your baby
- Chance of cot death increases
- Airways damaged resulting in future respiratory illness and asthma
The good news is that when pregnant women stop smoking, they have the power to remain smokefree. If you and your spouse have experienced problems trying to conceive, then going smokefree can increase your chances of becoming pregnant. Going smokefree is the logical choice, because it means a healthier life for you and your child.
Going Smokefree Matters In Each Stage of Pregnancy
It’s never too late to stop smoking for the health of you and your baby, no matter what stage of pregnancy. However, it is important that you stop smoking within the first 3 months of your pregnancy. Most of the damaging effects occur between months 4 and 9, so you still have time to stop if you want to ensure your baby’s health. The only way to stop is through the love and support of your family and friends.
Cigarette smoke can weaken a young child’s overall health and immune system. If your children grow up in a smokefree environment, then they will grow up healthy.
Choosing to go smokefree reduces the risk problems such as:
- ‘Glue Ear’ and loss of hearing
- Lung cancer in adulthood
- Cot death
- Chest infections and severe asthma attacks
Nicotine is so addictive that it can seem like it is impossible to quit smoking. However, there are support groups and doctors who are willing to assist you. Some women turn to nicotine gum or patches to help them to quell cravings. Using these products eliminates the harmful substances found in cigarettes. A doctor can write you a prescription so that the costs associated with going smokefree are much lower.