Impacts of smoking during pregnancy

The big question – Is it really dangerous to smoke during pregnancy? Let us see! Infact, why don’t you conclude yourself once you finish this reading. Undoubtedly, all pregnant women want a healthy baby; I am sure, you are no exception either.

Cigarette contains nasty health enemies like – more than 4000 chemicals that include lead, nicotine, carbon monoxide and other cancer causing compounds.

We know for a few of you, it can be very difficult to give up smoking. Nevertheless, you must know what it will land you into in case you are still into the dilemma of “Quit or Don’t Quit Smoking”.

Here’s a list of few impacts of smoking that can be harmful for you and your baby:

1. Shortage of oxygenWhen you smoke, it directly hits your lungs making your respiratory organs weak. The baby inside you too finds it difficult to breath because of shortage of oxygen. It can also lead to decreased lung function and higher risk of asthma.

It can cause decreased fetal movements in the womb for at least an hour after smoking.

2. Underdeveloped babyShortage of oxygen can directly affect the growth of the baby. It can lead to underdeveloped limbs and foot. You may also deliver a physically challenged baby. It can also impair the baby’s growth in years to follow.

3. Baby may be born with heart diseaseThe risk is high when a pregnant woman smokes in the first trimester. Your baby is likely to have heart disease at the time of birth. According to a study conducted at U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), it was noted that babies whose mother smoke during pregnancy are detected with problems in blood circulation from heart to lungs.

Smoking during pregnancy can also cause low birth weight, which is in turn closely related to type 2 diabetes, heart diseases and blood pressure in adulthood. It also increases the risk of being overweight and obese in childhood.

4. Slow functioning of baby’s brainIf you smoke during pregnancy, there are high chances that your baby will have lifelong effect on its brain. They may have behavioral problems and mental disorders. Smoking during pregnancy can cause impaired development and working of placenta.

5. Increased chances of miscarriageBabies have sensitive organs. Since it is difficult for the baby to survive when you smoke regularly, there are high chances of miscarriages.

6. Increased risk of premature deliveryYou can expect premature delivery if you are a smoker during pregnancy. This is because, every time you smoke, carbon monoxide is released leading to cutting down amount of oxygen that should reach your baby. Problems with placenta like early detachment from the uterine wall and blocking the cervical opening (placenta previa) can also be noted in women who smoke during their pregnancy.

Further, it is usually seen that premature babies are unhealthy compared to others. Smoking during pregnancy can also lead to premature rupture of membranes and increased risk of cleft lip and cleft palate.

10KeyThings-Cleft-Lip Impacts of smoking during pregnancyImage Source

10KeyThings-Repaired-cleft-palate Impacts of smoking during pregnancyImage Source

7. Increases risk of Ectopic pregnancy – Ectopic pregnancy is a complication of pregnancy in which the embryo attached outside the uterus. Smoking during pregnancy increases risk of ectopic pregnancy. It also heightens the chances of foetal death (still birth).

Hope this reading will help you to make an informed decision.

Ways that may assist you to Quit Smoking:

There are numerous smoking cessation programs available that help you to quit smoking. Ask your doctor about them. You can also join support groups online which can be a great help. Here are some tips that will help you quit smoking.

  • Request people who smoke, not to smoke around you
  • Hide all your ashtrays, lighters, and cigarette packets
  • Call your home a Non-Smoking area
  • Try and alter habits connected to smoking
  • Drink fewer caffeinated drinks. Caffeine usually stimulates the urge to smoke.
  • Avoid alcohol as it may increase your chances to smoke
  • Indulge in any form of exercise. Swimming, cycling or even taking a walk may help.
  • Try and develop new hobbies to divert your mind
  • Try and avoid going to places like pubs and bars where people tend to smoke a lot
  • Keep mint / gum handy so that you can pop one when you have that strong urge to smoke.

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