Smoking While Pregnant: The Dangers You Need to Know
Everybody knows how bad smoking is for your health. As children, we were told every day in school that smoking kills. It causes cancer, emphysema, heart disease, bad breath, brittle nails, yellow teeth, and the list goes on. If you’re pregnant though, you have a lot more to lose than just your own health. You put your baby directly in harm’s way.
Smoking while pregnant is one of the most unhealthy things you can do as an expectant mother. However, in a study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 10% of women reported smoking during their last trimester. Of women who smoked prior to conceiving, only 55% quit during pregnancy. If you identify with any of these statistics, take heed now. You don’t have to endanger yourself and your baby. Inform yourself about the risks of smoking while pregnant and learn how to cope with quitting. Lucky for you, Mustela is here to share the knowledge you need to have a happy, healthy baby.
How Smoking While Pregnant Affects Your Baby
Smoking while pregnant has numerous adverse affects on your baby’s health and development. Initially, smoking makes it harder to get pregnant. If you have conceived and continue to smoke, your chances of miscarriage and birth defects increase.
Harm To The Placenta
If you continue to smoke while pregnant, you may harm your placenta. The placenta surrounds the fetus throughout pregnancy and serves as the baby’s source of food and oxygen. It is vital that the placenta remains healthy and intact. Smoking can prevent the placenta from giving the baby the nutrients and oxygen it needs. If your baby is receiving less oxygen and nutrients than it needs, your baby will not develop properly. Smoking can also cause the placenta to separate from the womb too early, which in turn causes bleeding. This separation and internal bleeding is extremely dangerous for both the mother and child.
Smoking while pregnant increases your chances of premature birth. If your baby is born too early, he or she will likely have to stay in the hospital for a prolonged period of time. This can be quite traumatic for both the mother and the child. Smoking also increases the chances of your baby having low birth weight. In extreme cases, babies can die because of premature birth or low birth weight.
Risk of Death & Birth Defects
Your baby’s risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) increases if you smoke while pregnant. SIDS is when an infant dies, but no cause of death can be found. Your baby will also be more likely to be born with a cleft lip or cleft palate and other birth defects. These risks can reduced by simply quitting smoking. Ask yourself: is it worth it?
What About E-Cigarettes?
E-cigarettes deliver nicotine (the addictive ingredient in cigarettes) in pen-like vessels to the smoker. The cartridges that are placed in e-cigarettes usually contain nicotine, flavorings, and other chemicals. A battery then heats up the liquid inside the cartridge into a vapor that the smoker inhales.
While the aerosol that is emitted from an e-cigarette contains fewer dangerous substances than cigarette smoke, it is still not safe for pregnant women to use them. So don’t think you can get away with throwing away your pack of smokes in exchange for an e-cigarette. You will still be putting yourself and your baby at risk. Nicotine is simply not safe for pregnant women because it damages your baby’s developing brain and lungs.
4 Tips to Quit Smoking
Now that you understand the dangers of smoking while pregnant, you may be asking yourself, "How can I quit?" We've got you covered with four simple tips.
1. Get Rid Of Temptations
Throw out all of your smoking paraphernalia. Say goodbye to your lighters, ashtrays, and matches so you will not be reminded of your old cigarette habit. Replace activities that were connected to smoking. If you smoked on your lunch break, go for a walk instead. Pop a mint or chew a piece of gum when you feel the urge to smoke.
2. Create A Non-Smoking Bubble For Yourself
Ensure that your home is a smoke-free area. Ask the people in your life who are smokers to stop smoking when they’re around you. If you have friends or family that smoke, ask them to do it outside of the house. Avoid places where a lot of people may be smoking, such as bars, clubs, and concerts.
3. Watch What You Drink
Avoid drinking coffee and other caffeinated beverages. Caffeine can stimulate your urge to smoke, as well as trigger the behavior if you used to enjoy a cigarette with your morning cup of joe. Avoid alcohol as well. In addition to being harmful to your baby, alcohol can also increase your desire to smoke.
Exercise and stay active. Moving your body will distract you from cravings and relieve stress. When you get the urge to smoke, go for a walk or hit the gym instead of reaching for a cigarette. Swimming, yoga, and low impact aerobics are all great options to keep fit and burn off steam while pregnant.
Stay Healthy, Don’t Smoke
Smoking while pregnant poses many risks to your baby’s health. Is that nicotine fix really worth it? There’s almost nothing more rewarding for a mother than having a happy, healthy baby. Quitting smoking is a critical step towards that noble mission.