SolveYourProblem Article Series: Pregnancy
Pregnancy: Everything You Need To Know



Smoking During Pregnancy:
What Can Go Wrong?

As you already know, smoking while pregnant is not the best thing you can do. There are many things that can go wrong with the fetus if you smoke. It is a known fact that a woman who smokes while pregnant interferes with the baby getting a healthy amount of food and oxygen. The amount of risk that is increased to a healthy pregnancy, as you continue to smoke, some of the risks include:

  • Miscarriage is more likely
  • More likely for your baby to die before birth
  • Developing placenta previa, where the cervix gets covered by the placenta
  • Placental abruption
  • Preterm birth
  • Possible learning and behavior difficulties, when a child
  • Early birth can result in breathing problems
  • The chances are greater of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome

It is now understood that genetic defects are directly related to smoking, or the intake of second hand smoke. When the mother-to-be smokes, it starves the placenta and the fetus of nutrients and oxygen, the placenta thins out and seemingly spreads through the uterus, thus increasing the chances of placental abruption or previa. At this time the placenta is now in a survival mode, shifting to seek an appropriate amount of nutrients and oxygen. The baby will tend to be smaller, and perhaps have a low birth weight, due to the depravation, as the body no longer feels it can nourish the fetus appropriately. There is a greater chance of labor that is of the preterm variety, not a healthy situation.

Nicotine like many other drugs, is addictive, and as such is generally hard to kick. Often, assistance and support is needed to break this habit, if it has been going on for some time. It would be recommended that you consult your mid-wife or doctor before using an aid such as the patch, while pregnant, just to be sure of any complications it may entail.

In addition, the patch could be risky because it does contain nicotine. However, the patch does not have the other harmful chemicals that cigarettes contain. If you are late in your pregnancy and still smoking, you may wonder if it is worth quitting. The answer will always be yes. At any point that you stop, you boost the benefit factor for the baby as well as yourself.

After the baby is born, it would be recommended that you remain smoke free, as many ailments can be associated with second hand smoke, including, more frequent ear infections, more colds, and even crib death. It would not be a bad idea to have your partner quit with you, if they are smokers as well, encourage them to take this plunge as a stronger support system will be in place. Either way, it will be healthier for them, you, and the baby for the long run. If your partner cannot or will not quit, it is not unreasonable to ask them to do so outside, and away from the baby and you.

Along with the fact that smoking can induce you to have a smaller baby, it generally is the cause of many complications, with a smaller baby. These babies need more nourishment, have trouble sleeping, and in turn could make more trips to the hospital.

Then if this is not enough reason to quit, here is another: it is called Intrauterine Growth Retardation (IUGR). Also, think about breastfeeding. It is wonderful and many women look forward to it, and enjoy it when they can. Smoking can negatively affect breastfeeding, too. Although it is recommended that if you smoke and are breastfeeding, you continue to feed this way; however there are still risks from doing so.

Doctors will tell you that you can use the patch when breastfeeding because using the patch is better than smoking for you and the baby. However, if you wish to start a family, and have decided to quit smoking, it would be best to be clear from smoking for at least three months.

Pre-term Labor:

If you smoke your body is more likely to try to end your pregnancy sooner in an effort to protect your baby from the harmful smoke. The problem though is that babies born even slightly prematurely have a greater risk of death and other complications. The sooner the baby is born, the more likely you baby is to die or have serious complications, including mental retardation and cerebral palsy. If you smoke, you could have trouble staying pregnant. It can also decrease your fertility. The smaller the baby, the more at risk he or she may be for many problems. In fact, low birth weight is one of the top reasons for babies to be ill and die in the first months of life.

If you smoked during pregnancy or if your baby is surrounded by second hand smoke, your baby will be more likely to be ill, have asthma and other respiratory problems. Recent studies show that if you smoke your baby is more likely to have colic. There are many organizations to help you.

To make pregnancy a little easier and solve your problem, click here.

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