Smoking during pregnancy is very harmful for both the mother and the child. It can lead to severe health conditions like cancer, heart and lungs problems, eye problems and gum diseases and oral cancer, etc. Sometimes, it even creates problems in getting pregnant.
Smoking releases dangerous chemicals like nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar. When pregnant, exposure of nicotine in the utero leads to an alteration in the breathing patterns and body’s ventilation.
The baby growing inside the body is exposed to all these substances which lessen the amount of oxygen it takes and may damage its lungs as well.
Nicotine narrows the blood vessels inside the body and blood cells carrying oxygen, starts picking the molecules of carbon monoxide.
This stops the whole breathing process of the baby. This now clears why smoking during pregnancy is dangerous. It increases the risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
It has been found that a cigarette smoke contains more than 4000 chemicals including poisonous substances like cyanide, lead and at least sixty cancer-causing compounds. When a pregnant lady smokes, the toxic brew gets into the blood streams of the baby.
While none of the compounds are required for the baby, two substances, nicotine and carbon monoxide are extremely dangerous and are the root cause of many of the problems and complications caused due to smoking during pregnancy. The most serious complications include stillbirth, premature delivery and underweight of the baby.
Smoking when pregnant may lead to vaginal bleeding and placental abruption. Sometimes, it may result in an ectopic pregnancy as well.
Ectopic pregnancy is a situation in which the pregnancy implants outside the uterine cavity. There is also the risk of placenta previa, a condition where the placenta covers the cervix.
While the effects are not good for the mother, they are really dangerous for the baby growing inside the body. The child is born with various birth defects like cleft lip or palate and lifelong disabilities.
Smoking during pregnancy may cause mental retardation, cerebral palsy and other learning problems in the child and also death in some cases.
Not only active smoking, second-hand smoking is equally harmful. Apart from being underweight, there are greater risks of the baby for problems like asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and other respiratory symptoms.
The baby may have shorter length and smaller head circumference. It may also acquire dangerous diseases like tuberculosis and cancer too.
Now -a-days, third-hand smoke has become hazardous too. This is made up of the toxic gases and particles left behind from cigarette or cigar.
These residues include lead, arsenic and carbon monoxide. Inhaling these toxins can prove dangerous and increase the risk of the child acquiring breathing syndromes.
Mental disorders are usually obvious in the infants whose mothers are addicted or in some way related to smoking during pregnancy.
Keeping the health conditions of the child, it is utmost urgent for the pregnant woman to quit smoking. The best time to go for this is while planning for the pregnancy itself.
If not, then it is better to kick off this addiction at the earliest. For women who need assistance in giving up this bad habit, special programmes are available.
Getting rid of smoking will help in having cleaner teeth, fresher breath, fewer wrinkles and lesser stain marks. This also provides greater strength and keeps active. Quitting of smoking during pregnancy also paves a completely different stage for the child.
The risk of the child coming with severe mental and behavioural is eliminated. Usually it is born healthy without much respiratory problems.
Effects of Smoking During Pregnancy (Video)
It is advisable for the pregnant woman to keep distance from the active and passive smoking and stay in a fresh and happy environment. Quitting of smoking may become painful for some time, yet it is necessary for the baby to arrive in the world.
To retain the habit of staying away from smoking during pregnancy, self motivation is important. You can always try to divert your mind when you feel the temptation for smoking. Keeping yourself busy with reading, music or knitting, etc is the best way to do this.
A round of exercise, yoga and meditation can also help in this regard. Keeping away from regular smokers is essential, seeing them you might be tempted to smoke as well.
Chewing sugarless gums and raw vegetables can prove to be helpful. Besides these, you can always consult your health care provider for any medical assistance in this direction.
Smoking during pregnancy is injurious to the health of both the mother and the child and hence should be avoided. The sooner it is done, the better it is for both the mother and the baby.