Picture this scene: You deliver your baby and as soon as baby is born, you put a cigarette to baby’s lips and light it. Baby puffs away!
If the above scenario seems preposterous and outrageous, it is intended to be so. It should be enough to convince anyone as to why it’s harmful for pregnant mothers to smoke. It’s as good as your baby smoking a cigarette! If your health concerns aren’t enough reason to make you quit smoking during pregnancy, the health of your baby should be. That’s because if you smoke during pregnancy, it affects your baby’s health before, during and after pregnancy as well. The addictive stuff in cigarettes is called nicotine. Nicotine, along with carbon monoxide and several other poisonous substances that you inhale from a cigarette are carried through your bloodstream to reach baby directly. The amounts of oxygen that is available to both you and your growing baby are reduced drastically, baby’s heart rate increases and there are chances of miscarriage and stillbirth as well. Your baby might be born prematurely and/or born with low birth weight. Other impacts include chances of baby developing respiratory (lung) problems, birth defects and the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. There are no safe levels of smoking for a pregnant woman. The more you smoke, the greater the chances of baby’s health problems.
How Does Second-hand Smoke Affect Pregnancy?
Second-hand smoke is also called passive smoke or environmental tobacco smoke. It is nothing but the combination of smoke from a burning cigarette and smoke exhaled by a smoker. So, even smoking near a pregnant woman is harmful for both the mother and her baby. Smokers beware!
It’s astonishing how passive smoke actually contains more harmful substances like tar, carbon monoxide, nicotine, and others than the smoke that is inhaled by a smoker. It is equally if not more dangerous to a foetus. Now, you know this!
The Sad Truth
Despite being aware of the fact that smoking during pregnancy is a strict no-no, many pregnant women still smoke, creating unwanted risks for themselves and their babies. Smoking is an addiction and it’s difficult to quit smoking. But it’s not impossible if your health and your baby’s health are at risk. In a shocking survey across the world, it was revealed that almost 10 percent of pregnant women smoked during the last three months of pregnancy. Most of these women found it difficult to kick the habit.
Here are some tips that may help you kick the habit and stop smoking during pregnancy. May God help you if you still choose to smoke!
- Hide your cigarettes, matches, lighters, and ashtrays. (partners, please do the needful) When there’s no availability, there cannot be any smoking. There’s no smoke without fire, as the saying goes.
- Designate your home to be a non-smoking area as a rule, regardless of pregnancy.
- Ask people who smoke not to smoke around you. Insist firmly that they should go into a smoking zone without causing harm to others.
- Drink fewer caffeinated beverages as caffeine may stimulate your urge to smoke. Also avoid alcohol, as it may also increase your urge to smoke and can be harmful to your baby. Alcohol intake should anyways be banned during pregnancy. But if a woman is silly enough to smoke during pregnancy, she might be having alcohol as well. DON’T DO IT!
- Change your habits associated with smoking. If you smoked while driving or when feeling stressed, try other activities to replace smoking. Do not indulge in anything that makes you want to smoke.
- Keep mints or gum (preferably sugarless) close by for those moments when you get the urge to smoke.
- Stay active to keep your mind off smoking and help relieve stress. Take a walk, exercise, read a book, or try a new hobby.
- Look for support from others. Join a support group or smoking cessation program.
- Do not go to places where many people are smoking such as bars or clubs, and smoking sections of restaurants.
To conclude, if you are not strong enough to quit smoking during pregnancy, maybe you are not ready to have a baby. If both partners smoke, it is suggested that both of you quit the habit while you are bringing a baby into this world. That’s when the term ‘we are pregnant’ makes more sense, don’t you think?
Was this article helpful for you? What are your tips and suggestions to quit smoking? Do share the same with us and we will share the same with all our readers so they can QUIT SMOKING NOW!
You ask and we answer!
What birth defects are caused by smoking?
Harpreet Nagra, Chandigarh.
Smoking doubles your risk of abnormal bleeding during pregnancy and delivery. This can put both you and your baby in danger. Smoking raises your baby's risk for birth defects, including cleft lip, cleft palate, or both. A cleft is an opening in your baby's lip or in the roof of her mouth (palate).
Can smoking in early pregnancy harm baby?
Melanie de Souza, Mumbai.
Smoking during pregnancy can also affect a baby after he or she is born, increasing the risk of: Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) Colic and Asthma.
How does smoking affect a baby's development?
Suchitra Rao, Bangalore.
The following signs might be observed.
- Increases your baby's heart rate.
- Increases the chances of miscarriage and stillbirth.
- Increases the risk that your baby is born prematurely and/or born with low birth weight.
- Increases your baby's risk of developing respiratory (lung) problems.
How bad is smoking during first trimester?
Urvi Ghosh, Kolkata.
Smoking during pregnancy raises the risk of your baby being born with birth defects. The most common types of problems are congenital heart defects and problems with the structure of the heart. Other health issues that have been linked to smoking while pregnant include cleft lip and cleft palate.