- by Manipal Hospitals
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- Feb 28 2017
Smoking Is Harmful During Pregnancy! Know How?
Are you pregnant and smoking regularly? Then it is time you give it a thought, if you want a healthy baby. Yes! Smoking is the biggest enemies for the health of the baby in your womb. Smoking and pregnancy can never go hand-in-hand. Nothing can protect your baby from big dangers if you are a smoker. With every cigarette you smoke, you are proportionately increasing the risk of your pregnancy. There is no safe-level for smoking during pregnancy.
Still unsure of how damaging it could be to smoke during pregnancy? Then understand the health hazards through this blog.
How does smoking during the pregnancy affect my baby’s health?
You would surely be surprised after knowing the possible risks and ill effects of tobacco smoke on your baby’s health. Doesn’t the term ‘smoke’ itself sounds unhealthy? Tobacco smoke has a mixture of harmful chemicals such as carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, nitrogen oxides, etc. When you smoke during your pregnancy, these toxic chemicals reach the baby and limit the supply of oxygen and nutrients thereby affecting the overall health of the newborn.
Have a look:
Smoking during pregnancy can pose your baby to several risks such as
- Still births (birth of a dead baby who has survived through nearly 28 weeks)
- Either a premature birth (early birth) or birth of baby with low body weight
- Congenital defects such as defects in the heart
- Abnormalities in the placenta
- Colic pain
- Poor intelligence
- Over weight in childhood
- Sudden infant death syndrome (sudden death of baby during sleep)
- Breathing problems such as asthma
You may be at the following major risks with regular smoking during pregnancy:
- Miscarriages (death of baby in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy)
- Development of heart disease and breathing problems
How does secondhand smoke affect my baby’s health?
The most unfortunate thing is that even though you don’t smoke, your baby can be still under the risks of tobacco smoke. This happens when the people around you smoke, and when you get regularly exposed to that, and become a passive smoker. You would probably inhale the air, and the final victim is your baby.
Passive smoking can also affect your baby’s health before and after the birth. If you are an active smoker, you can stop it for your baby. But if you are exposed to smoke from others, then it can be tough asking them to stop smoking. However, try it! Or better be away from the smoke zone.
Passive smoking can pose the risk of low birth babies and increases the risk of cot death (sudden infant death), birth defects, and pregnancy loss too.
If I quit smoking during pregnancy, how good is it for my baby?
It would be a great job quitting the habit of smoking as it gives your baby a health-filled life. It improves the oxygen supply and brings back the heart beat of your growing baby to normal within days. It also reduces the chances of developing breathing problems in future.
Ways to quit smoking
Consult your doctor before trying out anything; follow the tips provided below:
- Keep the smoking materials out of reach
- Set a target reduction in cigarette count per week and try to reach it gradually, finally achieving the count to zero cigarettes
- Try to eat healthy snacks when you have cravings for smoking
- Keep yourself away from the situation that compels you to smoke
- Reduce caffeinated drinks which can increase your urge for smoking
- Replace your smoking habit with other better activities such as reading, talking to your family or friends
You may have withdrawal symptoms in the beginning which will, however, go away in 10-14 days. Stay strong and think to yourself that these are the symptoms of your body getting better.
Can I use stop-smoking products?
If you tried and still unable to quit smoking, then talk to your doctor about alternatives. It is fine to use nicotine replacement patches to quit your smoking habit. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) contains only nicotine and no other chemical substances that harm your baby.
Your doctor would prescribe non-nicotine medications such as an antidepressant to stop smoking during pregnancy. Before using these, you must learn the risks and benefits from your doctor.
No mother wants to be the worst enemy for their baby. So, the best thing that you can give your baby is “A healthy start in life.” Keeping your baby healthy is possible by keeping yourself healthy during pregnancy; the choice is all yours. You are the one to choose whether to quit or still smoke during pregnancy. Say a big ‘NO’ to smoking while you are pregnant. It would be wise if you have already made a decision to be among the folks who are ready to quit smoking. Protect your little one from the demonic effects of tobacco smoke. Be healthy to let your little one be healthier.
© Copyright MANIPAL HOSPITALS
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