There is no dearth of anti-smoking media campaigns around us. We're constantly told about the dangers of smoking. While some women do quit smoking during their pregnancy, there are many others who don't. One of the reasons for this could be the increased anxiety levels of an expectant mom or an emotionally turbulent situation. However difficult it may seem to you, it is advisable to quit smoking, and most necessarily if you're pregnant.
Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen for the baby growing within you. The nicotine element in your cigarettes is likely to increase your baby's heart rate along with yours. Chances of improper flow of blood in the umbilical cord also increase when the pregnant mother is a smoker. Besides this, babies born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy are highly vulnerable to the risks of SIDS and other birth complications. If you continue smoking after your baby is born, the toxic substances inhaled by you will be passed on to the baby while breastfeeding. Passive smoking will also remain a threat to your child's health. Despite these well-known risks, women who are unable to quit smoking choose to believe certain myths concerning smoking and pregnancy. This article attempts to bust some of these myths.
15 No Guarantees
Just because you smoked during your last pregnancy and delivered a healthy child, does not guarantee the same for your second or subsequent pregnancies. The more you smoke during your pregnancy, the higher is your child's life at risk. If you've had a healthy baby in the past, despite smoking during pregnancy, you're extremely fortunate. But that doesn't mean the same experience will be repeated the next time. Since this is something that concerns your own child, why would you want to take a risk?
14 Low Birth Weight
When you smoke during pregnancy, you're likely to deliver a baby with lower than normal weight at birth. This has nothing to do with how easy or difficult your delivery will be, but it will definitely affect your child's health. Low birth weight babies tend to have more health issues as compared to the ones born with normal weight. These health problems can impact the long-term well-being of your child.
13 Never Too Late
Don't think that there is no point in quitting smoking since you're already well into the first trimester of your pregnancy. Whether or not the damage is irreversible, quitting smoking will have its own benefits irrespective of how pregnant you are. It is possible that your baby's lungs will not be adversely impacted if you quit smoking now. Your baby could also have a normal weight at birth if you discontinue smoking from here on.
12 High Blood Pressure
You might feel more relaxed and calm when you smoke and you assume that this mental state is beneficial for you and your baby. However, the truth is quite the opposite. You may be calm outwardly, but your body is getting damaged inside. Your heart rate is getting affected and your blood pressure is on the rise. Every time you smoke, it increases the carbon monoxide content in your blood, and there is less oxygen left for your baby.
11 Effects on Baby
There will not be any extra emotional strain on your baby if you quit smoking. The harm you're exposing your baby to by continuing to smoke is much higher than the stress you will go through once you decide to quit. Look at the numerous positives of quitting. It is the best gift you can offer to your child, it will lead to your baby's better health and development. You're also protecting your child from the risk of SIDS and passive smoking.
10 Harmful in Any Amount
There are no prescribed levels of smoking. Even if you cut down on the number of cigarettes you smoke every day, the toxic substances will still enter your body and affect your health along with your child's. Quitting completely is the only way out of this.
9 Changes in Weight
Many women believe that weight gain is one of the side effects of quitting smoking. Even if this is true, there is no time better than pregnancy to quit, as you'd gain some weight anyway and people around will expect to see you put on a few extra pounds.
8 Options to Quit
There are many other options available to you once you are determined to quit smoking. Cold turkey is not the only way. You should talk to your doctor before you use any herbal products or start any medication for the same, especially if you're pregnant. You need to decide to quit. Help will surely come to you in various forms if you really want to do this.
You should breastfeed your baby even if you have not managed to quit smoking because your breast milk is still more beneficial to your child than harmful. Your baby has already been exposed to passive smoking. You don't want to take further chances with their health by not giving them breast milk.
6 Bad Examples
If your mother smoked during her pregnancy, and yet you turned out fine, it does not necessarily mean you should not take this seriously. Smoking causes more than 40% of child deaths and increases the risk of premature delivery or miscarriage. It is a huge deal. Don't follow the wrong example.
5 Light Cigarettes
If you think switching to lighter versions of cigarettes is safer, you're wrong. Despite what the manufacturers claim, all versions of cigarettes are harmful to you and your baby. You're still inhaling toxic substances into your system.
4 Effects on the Fetus
It is not true that the baby is protected from the harmful effects of smoke in the womb. The poisons you inhale can move into your baby's bloodstream via the placenta. Your baby ends up getting less oxygen, which impacts their growth.
3 Post-Delivery Effects
If you've delivered a healthy baby despite smoking, the risk to your child's health doesn't end there. Babies are affected severely by the passive smoking around them. They feel ill all the time and don't eat or sleep as well as they should.
2 Changing Brands
Once your body is used to a certain amount of nicotine, even if you move to a different brand and cut down on the number of smokes, your body will try to draw harder on the cigarettes to get its usual supply of nicotine. Harmful substances will still reach your baby. The safest way out for your baby is that you stop completely.
1 Seek Support
You might not quit smoking because you keep telling yourself that you don't have the necessary willpower. If that is true, don't rely fully on your willpower to get you out of this. Seek support from others. You can join a support group, speak to a counselor or a doctor, or opt for therapy.
The benefits of quitting smoking during pregnancy are tremendous. You will breathe better, feel more energetic, and morning sickness will not trouble you as much. You will even find yourself looking better than before. Smoking is simply adding to your stress. Don't believe for a moment that it is relieving you of it. After you smoke, the nicotine level in your blood starts reducing with time and this causes you stress, which is why you go to the next smoke. Once you quit, you're free of this stress reaction once and for all. If you continue smoking, you're increasing the chances of birth complications, the risk of miscarrying your baby, a potential premature delivery and giving birth to a fragile and underdeveloped infant. Babies born to non-smoking mothers tend to be full term, more immune from infections and asthma, exhibit better physical and mental strength with lesser behavioral issues. They're also more likely to be calmer, better sleepers and respond well to feeding.