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Risks of Smoking During Pregnancy

Thursday, September 16, 2021


Curious about the risks of smoking during pregnancy? How to quit smoking? Are smoking cessation products safe for the baby? You can find out what you wonder about smoking and pregnancy in this article.

Smoking and pregnancy are not a good couple and you can take measures to quit smoking completely. Start by getting answers to the most common questions about smoking during pregnancy.

Does smoking affect fertility?

You probably know the risks of smoking, from smelly clothes to facial wrinkles, from heart disease to lung cancer. If you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant but still smoke, you now have a much better reason to quit. Smoking can make it harder for you to get pregnant. Smoking also increases the risk of an ectopic pregnancy – the implantation of a fertilized egg outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian canal.

How does smoking during pregnancy affect the baby?

Smoking during pregnancy exposes the baby to carbon monoxide, which limits the baby's oxygen and nutrient supply. Exposure to nicotine causes the baby's heart rate to increase and fetal respiratory movements to decrease.

Smoking during pregnancy can also bring about other health problems. E.g;

*vaginal bleeding
*Risk of experiencing placental problems such as partial or complete closure of the cervix by the placenta (Placental previa) or separation of the placenta from the inner wall of the uterus before birth (Placental abruption).
*Low birth weight
*Premature rupture of membranes — protect your baby from bumps, blows, etc. tearing or leakage of the amniotic sac surrounded by the amniotic membranes that protect it before labor begins or before 37 weeks of pregnancy
*Preterm birth
*Birth defects involving the heart, limbs, skull, muscles, and other areas
*pregnancy loss

Smoking during pregnancy can also affect infant health after your baby is born. E.g:

*Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
*Stomach ache
*Asthma
*Respiratory infection
*Obesity in children

Some studies show that smoking during pregnancy can also affect children's emotional development, behavior and learning abilities. Smoking during pregnancy can even negatively affect children's own fertility.

How does exposure to passive smoking during pregnancy affect pregnancy?

Passive smoking during pregnancy also affects your baby's health. Women who do not smoke but are exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy may also be at risk of pregnancy loss, the baby being born with birth defects, or low birth weight.

Does quitting smoking during pregnancy reduce the baby's health risks?

Definitely! If you smoke, quitting smoking during pregnancy is one of the best ways to give your baby a healthy start. If you quit smoking during the first four months of pregnancy, you reduce the risk of low birth weight compared to a non-smoker woman. Quitting smoking during pregnancy also reduces the risk of premature birth, pregnancy loss, infant death, and other complications.

Reducing smoking during pregnancy is a step in the right direction, but quitting smoking completely will have the most positive impact on your and your baby's health.

What is the safest way to quit smoking during pregnancy?

The most reliable way to quit smoking during pregnancy is to quit without medical help. Start by consulting your doctor for advice and guidance. Then consider the following tips:

*List your reasons for quitting smoking (for example, protecting your baby's health, etc.)
*Get rid of all smoking-related materials in your home, workplace, purse, car.
*Avoid all situations that arouse your urge to smoke.
*Spend time with non-smokers and be in non-smoking areas.
*Spend your craving for a cigarette with work or a healthy snack.
*If your doctor finds it appropriate, engage in physical activities to control smoking abstinence.
*Make sure you have someone you can talk to when you need support.

Set goals and reward yourself when you reach your goal. For example, if you have not smoked for a certain period of time, you can buy something for yourself or your baby with the money you will spend on cigarettes, or you can deposit the money into your baby's savings account.

Is it safe to use smoking cessation products during pregnancy?

If you are still having trouble quitting smoking, ask your doctor if you can use nicotine replacement products such as nicotine patches, inhalers, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenges or nasal sprays. These products used to quit smoking will prevent your baby from being exposed to many harmful chemicals in cigarettes.

Many nicotine replacement products are available without a prescription. If you prefer to use the nicotine patch, remove the patch before going to bed so that the baby is not exposed to more nicotine. As your desire to smoke and your sense of withdrawal decrease, gradually reduce the use of a cigarette patch or other nicotine cessation product, in consultation with your doctor.

If you prefer a nicotine-free treatment to quit smoking during pregnancy, an antidepressant like Zyban may be another alternative. Discuss the risks and benefits of these types of medications with your doctor, depending on your situation.

Is it common to start smoking after giving birth?

Adapting to life with a newborn can be stressful. As a result, many women who quit smoking start smoking again after giving birth. It is likely that the circle of women who start smoking again and their loved ones generally smoke and have less social support. If you quit smoking during pregnancy, remember how risky it can be to smoke again after giving birth and consult your doctor to avoid starting smoking again.

Remember that passive smoking puts the health of the newborn at risk (including a high risk of asthma and sudden infant death syndrome). If you are breastfeeding, your baby will be exposed to many harmful chemicals through your milk. Smoking will also reduce your milk supply and affect your planned breastfeeding period. If you started smoking after giving birth, don't smoke near your baby or while breastfeeding. Most importantly, schedule to quit again.

Quitting smoking is rarely easy. It may take more than one attempt to quit smoking. However, quitting smoking is an achievable process and your whole family will benefit from it.

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