Smoking and pregnancy
Cigarettes contain harmful and dangerous chemicals such as nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar that are dangerous to your health and smoking during pregnancy can be harmful not only to the mother but also to the growing fetus.
In this blog, we’re going to take a look at 10 reasons why smoking during pregnancy should ideally be avoided at all costs in order to ensure a healthier future for the mother and the baby.
Why is smoking harmful during pregnancy?
1. It’s harder to get pregnant
If you’re a smoker, you should try to quit the habit right when you decide you want to get pregnant. This is due to the fact that smoking can affect your body adversely and can cause problems when it comes to getting pregnant.
While smoking while pregnant is definitely a bad idea, smoking, in general, is also a pretty bad idea as both male and female smokers are more likely to experience issues regarding fertility compared to non-smokers.
2. Miscarriage and stillbirth
Miscarriages and stillbirths are always tragic for parents, as dealing with the unexpected loss of a pregnancy is extremely difficult. According to research, smoking can increase the risk of both miscarriages and stillbirth, mostly due to the dangerous chemicals present in the cigarettes.
Other complications from smoking during pregnancy can cause problems with the placenta or can cause slow fetal development later resulting in a miscarriage or a stillbirth.
3. Ectopic pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy is a possible complication of smoking and pregnancy. The nicotine in cigarettes can cause fallopian tubes to contract which can lead to problems such as the embryo not being able to pass through. This can cause a complication known as ectopic pregnancy where the fertilized egg gets implanted on the outside of the uterus.
Ectopic pregnancy is a serious problem and the embryo has to be removed in order to prevent life-threating complications for the mother.
4. Placental abruption
The placenta is the structure that forms during pregnancy and provides the fetus with life-supporting nutrients and oxygen. A healthy placenta is vital for a healthy pregnancy but unfortunately, smoking can lead to complications regarding the placenta.
One of such complications is known as placenta abruption, a condition where the placenta separates from the uterus before childbirth. The condition can threaten the life of both the mother and the baby as it can cause severe bleeding. Immediate medical attention is required when it comes to placenta abruption and the condition can be avoided by avoiding smoking during pregnancy.
5. Placenta Previa
Another complication that can arise due to smoking while pregnant is known as placenta previa. This complication occurs when the placenta stays in the lower part of the uterus and partially or fully covers the cervix which should be left open for normal delivery.
During this condition, the placenta can often tear, which can cause excessive bleeding and can deprive the fetus of vital nutrients and oxygen.
6. Preterm birth
Preterm births are births that happen prematurely or before the normal 40 weeks of a gestation period that is required for a healthy birth. One of the causes of preterm births or premature babies is smoking during pregnancy.
A preterm birth carries a lot of health risks for the baby that can include:
- Learning and behavioural problems
- Visual and hearing impairments
- Medical complications and issues
- Mental disability
7. Low birth weight
If the parent is smoking during pregnancy, one of the possible adverse effects on the baby includes a low birth weight. A baby that is born with a low birth weight has to deal with a lot of health problems and disabilities and might face problems such as:
- Delay in development of the baby
- Vision or hearing problems
- Cerebral palsy
8. Birth defects
Smoking while you’re pregnant can also increase the risk of the baby being born with some birth defects. Some of the most common birth defects that are caused due to smoking are congenital heart defects and problems with the structure of the heart.
Some other problems that have been linked to smoking while pregnancy is in its early stages include cleft lip and cleft palate.
9. Reduced oxygen to the fetus
Smoking during pregnancy can also cause the fetus to not get enough oxygen and other vital nutrients that are required for healthy growth and development. Reduced oxygen to the fetus can cause a number of complications and health problems down the road for the baby as he or she develops.
By staying away from cigarettes, you’re not only ensuring that your life is a healthier and a better one but you’re also ensuring that your baby is getting all the nutrients it needs to grow and develop in a healthy manner.
10. Increased SIDS Risk
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) is a condition where the infant can pass away suddenly and unexpectedly within the first year of its life Naturally, SIDS is one of the most dangerous scenarios for parents. Smoking while pregnant can increase the chances of SIDS occurring in infants dramatically.
Even second-hand smoke can increases the chances of SIDS and therefore, it is vital to keep any kind of smoke away from the infant to ensure that the baby is not prone to dangerous illnesses and conditions.
Quitting during pregnancy helps!
In an ideal world, no woman should smoke before, during, or after pregnancy in order to ensure the healthy development of their child. However, this is not the case, as a lot of soon-to-be mothers do have the habit.
However, quitting at any point during the pregnancy is also tremendously helpful and provides the baby with an opportunity to grow healthy and well.
It is more beneficial to quit smoking at any point in the pregnancy than if you continue to smoke throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy, more so if it is done within the first trimester. However, do keep in mind that nicotine replacement therapy might not be the healthiest method to quit smoking if you’re pregnant.
It is better to ensure that your child should not encounter the negative effects of smoke at any point during or after the pregnancy. They are particularly prone to health risks and the added harm by cigarettes can cause life-long problems for your child.
Smoking while pregnancy should be avoided at all costs!
Smoking during pregnancy not only carries a lot of risks when it comes to the fetus but also poses serious health risks when it comes to the nursing mother. It is better to avoid any kind of smoke anywhere near the baby or the mother to ensure the healthy development of the fetus and the baby.