Smoking While Pregnant
Smoking while pregnant can be one of the most harmful things you can do to your baby. Many women who find out that they are pregnant are frustrated by the fact that they will have to quit smoking. They should feel lucky. They are going to give their baby the right start in life. They are also getting a built in reason to quit for themselves. It is difficult to quit smoking, but the health of your child is great motivation. Once you have gone nine or more months without smoking it will be more difficult to go back to smoking than it will be to continue being a non-smoker.
Dangerous For Everyone
Smoking is dangerous for everyone. The effects of smoking on adults are well documented. But those effects are increased significantly for children, especially unborn fetuses. Outside of the standard health issues is the effect that cigarette smoke, tobacco, and nicotine have on development. The majority of the time in the womb is spent developing a child's vital organs such as brain, lungs and heart. These can all suffer irreparable damage with even the smallest amount of smoking by the mother.
Sometimes smoking can put the pregnancy at risk before the child can even be born with complications. Smoking has been linked to ectopic pregnancy, placenta previa, and placental abruption. All of these make the possibility of child birth nearly impossible. They also put the life of the mother at risk.
While education and information have drastically reduced the number of pregnant women who smoke it is still rather common. In the United States 13 percent of pregnant women still smoke. The estimates project that if all pregnant women would stop smoking while they are pregnant, infant deaths would drop by 10 percent. That is not that large a percentage of the total number of infant deaths. But do you want to be the mother that wonders if smoking during the pregnancy is what caused her child's death.
It's Never Too Late To Quit
If you are currently smoking while pregnant don't give up hope. The sooner you quit the better the chances are for your baby. If you quit during the first trimester you can reduce the risk to your baby to nearly those of a woman who didn't smoke. If you need help contact your doctor. It isn't ideal to wear a nicotine patch during pregnancy. It is better than the alternative though. Nicotine patches contain less nicotine than you would pass on to your baby by smoking. There are also less additional chemicals in a patch than in a cigarette.
For mothers who do not smoke, your unborn baby still needs protection. Consider the places that you spend a lot of time. Are you and your baby exposed to smoke in those environments? How can you reduce the amount of time that you are exposed to second hand smoke? Remember also that you do not have to be present when someone is smoking to be at risk. The dangers of second hand smoke linger long after smoke is not visible in the air.