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Dangers of Smoking During Pregnancy

 

It’s never too late to quit smoking as the health benefits begin in the body as early as 20 minutes after your last smoke.

 

This is applicable, not only to mothers-to be to quit smoking during pregnancy but to their partners as well. It’s because passive smoking can be intoxicating for both mother and the baby. In addition to this, a smoke-free household provides you with a healthier atmosphere.

 

Initially, it can be hard to quit, but with the appropriate support from your family members and friends, it  can be done easily.

 

Fertility and Smoking:

 

For both men and women, consumption of nicotine through smoking can excessively decrease fertility rate.

 

Women who smoke can have:

 

  • early start of menopause

  • vulvar and cervical cancer

  • difficulty in smoking

Men who smoke can have:

 

  • trouble maintaining the erection

  • decreased sperm count

  • Issues in the DNA of the sperm causing health issues to the baby.

 

How smoking affects the baby during pregnancy?

 

According to the studies, smoking during pregnancy exposes your baby to several harmful chemicals. Every time you take a puff of smoke, your baby smokes it with you and harmful nicotine and other chemicals get through the placenta and into the fetus. Not only that, it also reduces the blood flow in the body, eventually causing birth difficulties.

 

For pregnant women, smoking can result in a far higher risk of:

 

  • premature birth

  • low birth weight

  • damage to the baby’s lungs and heart

  • miscarriage, stillbirth or ectopic pregnancy

 

Even after the birth, there are still health and development risks if you or other members in your family smoke. These include;

 

  • respiratory disorders such as asthma

  • increased chances of obesity

  • increased risk of childhood cancer, allergies, and high blood pressure

  • three times higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Passive smoking:

 

Passive smoking is no less damaging than smoking itself as other people’s smoke can put harmful effects on both mother and the baby. If it is not possible for other family members to quit, the least they can do is commit to a smoke-free household. Family members who smoke should do it outside or maintain a considerable distance from the pregnant woman while smoking.

 

In most states and territories, it is illegal to smoke in a car while a child is sitting inside. There is also a ban on smoking in public spaces.

 

How to start quitting smoking?

 

Quitting smoking completely can be the best goal for you. However, it will be easier if you start with cutting down on your smoking gradually.

 

There are numerous ways to quit smoking that you should at least give a try. Remember, every attempt to give up on cigarettes is a step taken towards becoming an ex-smoker which is immensely good for health.

 

You can quit by following methods that include:

 

  • going cold turkey- simply to withdraw suddenly from an addictive substance

  • using Quitline resources

  • mobile apps like Quit for you - Quit for two

  • taking support from family and friends

  • prescription medicine

  • nicotine replacement therapy

Prescription medications help you by reducing withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, cravings, and irritability.

 

Nicotine replacement therapies (NRT) are readily available from pharmacies and come in two categories:

 

  • Steady response products in the form of nicotine patches

  • quick response products, such as chewing gum, tablets, lozenges and inhalers.

It is important to inform the chemist or your doctor that you are pregnant before using any NRT or prescription medications.

 

While some smokers may use vaping or e-cigarettes for giving up tar and tobacco, the long-term health effects are still unknown of such products. Due to the ingredients, even e-cigarettes can be harmful to you and your baby. Doctors emphasize on quitting smoking rather than depending on its alternatives.

It may take a few tries to quit as it does for most people. But it is worth it to keep trying.