Smoking While Pregnant: The Unfortunate Status & Truth

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smoking during pregnancy

Table of Contents

Simply put – smoking during pregnancy is not a good match, provided the health of both, the mother and the baby are kept in mind. If a mom-to-be happens to smoke while pregnant, as per sources and the reviews of the healthcare specialist, it only ends up hindering the health, putting both the mother and the unborn baby in danger. 

Why?

Cigarettes contain many dangerous chemicals, such as nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide that could increase complications during pregnancy, so much so that it can be fatal for either the mother or the yet-to-be-born baby. 

To help you make a healthy decision and pick the right side focusing on a healthy and safe pregnancy, we at Parenthoodbliss have curated this article that not only focuses on the why and why-must-not(s) but also the reason and cares that must be kept in mind, especially when smoking could line the life of the mother-to-be and the baby.

Let’s dive in!

Smoking During Pregnancy: What Is It Harmful?

There are multiple reasons why smoking could be a harmful choice for you during your pregnancy. To name a few, here are the effects of smoking as it increases the risk of:

  • Preterm birth (that is before 37 weeks)
  • Delivery of a baby with low birth weight
  • Respiratory issues
  • Miscarriage
  • Intrauterine fetal death (stillbirth)
  • Cleft palate
  • And other kinds of defects at birth

Adding to this, there are a few more serious conditions that could be caused by even light smoking during pregnancy, affecting the baby during infancy and even in their childhood. Here are a few to name:

  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)
  • Behavioral problems
  • Learning disabilities
  • Asthma attacks
  • Frequent infections

As per studies, there is much evidence that indicates and proves the link of smoking habits that has a possibility of linking between generations. While some studies have shown the increasing rates of smoking in kids due to smoking during pregnancy, there are others that experience other biological factors that can be determined in the Utero while an expecting mother smokes during pregnancy. 

In direct words, smoking during pregnancy for sure affects the healthy and puts the infant at risk of becoming a smoker themselves when they grow up

Smoking During Pregnancy: Threatening 8 Effects Of Smoking While Pregnant

Here are the 8 threatening effects of smoking during pregnancy:

1. Trying For Pregnancy

If you are a smoker and want to become pregnant, first and foremost you must quit the habit of smoking as a priority. Doing so can not only ease and help you with a healthy pregnancy but also prevent you from not getting pregnant in the first place. 

If you are in your first trimester and think that light smoking during pregnancy could be ok, you are wrong as even then smoking could affect the health of the unborn baby. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, both, male and female smokers are likely to experience issues with fertility as compared to nonsmokers. 

On the other hand, secondhand smoking is also as dangerous to the fetus as otherwise. As per the Environmental Protection Agency, the secondhand smoker is considered as a group A carcinogen, known to cause cancer in humans.

2. Miscarriage And Stillbirth

At this stage, the unexpected rate of pregnancy loss is a tragic event with miscarriages occurring as early as in the first three months of pregnancy. Adding to this, on rare occasions, miscarriage can occur after 20 weeks of gestation, also known as a stillbirth.

As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the USA, smoking during pregnancy can raise issues like stillbirth and early miscarriage due to the dangerous chemicals present in cigarettes. There are other complications too that can lead to problems affecting the placenta or the slow development of the fetus, also causing miscarriage and/or stillbirth.

3. Ectopic Pregnancy

As per a study that was published in the journal PLoS One, the element – nicotine, could cause contractions in the fallopian tubes. This can prevent the passing through of the embryo, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy. 

This situation occurs when a fertilized egg gets implanted outside of the uterus or either in the abdomen or the fallopian tube. Here, it is very important for it to get removed in order to avoid life-threatening complications on the mother-to-be.

4. Abruption of the Placenta

As we are well aware, the placenta is known as the “lifeline” in pregnancy that forms to provide nutrition and oxygen to the fetus. Smoking during pregnancy is one case where it could be a major risk with complications during pregnancy, linked to the placenta. 

To name one condition – the placenta abruption. Here, the placenta detaches or separates from the uterus, even before childbirth, which can also cause severe bleeding causing life-threatening situations in both, the mother-to-be and the unborn baby. In situations like these, there is no possibility of treatment or surgery to reattach it, with immediate medical attention needed to increase the chance of a healthy birth irrespective of the abruption.

5. Placenta Previa

Smoking during pregnancy could cause another risk factor for placenta previa. As otherwise, where the placenta is known to grow in the uterus at the top of the womb, leaving an open cervix for delivery, the situation is quite different in placenta previa. 

6. Preterm Birth

Yet another cause, smoking during pregnancy could also result in preterm birth, here the baby is born way too early. There are many health risks that are associated with it, such as, mental disabilities, hearing and visual impairments, and life-threatening complications.

7. Low Birth Weight

Smoking during pregnancy can also result in low birth rates in babies which can also lead to other disabilities and health problems. Due to the advances made in medical care, there is a reduction in the number of deaths, resulting in low birth weight. Nevertheless, a much serious condition to be in:

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Delay in developmental
  • Hearing and/or vision ailments

As discussed, extreme smoking habits can also cause the deaths of newborns. The American Cancer Society stated that expecting moms who quit smoking just before getting pregnant have a lower risk of birthing a baby with low birth weight.

8. Birth Defects

Smoking during pregnancy can also raise the risk of the baby being born with birth defects, the most common types of problems include congenital heart defects, structural problems of the heart, cleft palate, and cleft lip.

Smoking During Pregnancy: The Unfortunate Stats And truth

Most expecting women are observed to continue despite being aware of the risk factors, resulting in underlying health issues in mothers and babies. As per CDC, about 10 percent of expecting women report themselves smoking in the last three months of pregnancy. 

So, how to avoid smoking? With no other way out, the only step that can be taken is to take action towards quitting. Call 1-800-QUIT-NOW, CDC’s helpline number NOW!

Smoking During Pregnancy Final Conclusion

We hope that the article above has not only helped you understand the hazards behind smoking during pregnancy but has also given you a reason as to WHY quit! Cutting the story short – we recommend quitting, not only for the little one’s health but also considering your health at stake. 

Quit smoking, happy living!

Smoking During Pregnancy FAQs

1) Why is smoking during pregnancy a cause of concern?

Cigarettes contain many dangerous chemicals, such as nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide that could increase complications during pregnancy, so much so that it can be fatal for either the mother or the yet-to-be-born baby.

2) What are the effects of smoking during pregnancy?

Here are some of the effects of smoking during pregnancy:
  • Preterm birth (that is before 37 weeks)
  • Delivery of a baby with low birth weight
  • Respiratory issues
  • Miscarriage
  • Intrauterine fetal death (stillbirth)
  • Cleft palate
  • And other kinds of defects at birth
  • 3) Can smoking during pregnancy cause preterm birth?

    Unfortunately, yes! Yet another cause, smoking during pregnancy can also result in preterm birth, where the baby is born too early. There are many health risks that are associated with it, such as, mental disabilities, hearing and visual impairments, and life-threatening complications.
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