If you are a woman who smokes during pregnancy, you are putting your child at risk for a long list of harmful effects. Although not all issues associated with smoking during pregnancy may affect your child, some are inevitable. To protect the health of your child, it is best to avoid smoking entirely during pregnancy.
Even though not too many studies have been done, the risks that are known are too great. We tend to feel there is a huge disconnect between what is known and what mothers, or potential mothers, are aware of concerning the risks. It is extremely important for women to know what the possibilities are if they smoke while pregnant. The following is information on just a few of the known consequences associated with smoking while pregnant.
Smoking while pregnant can lead to low birth weight, which is associated with an increased risk of infant mortality. Babies of smokers are also more likely to develop respiratory problems, including asthma. Additionally, mothers who smoke are more likely to have a miscarriage or stillbirth.
To quit smoking while pregnant, discuss available methods and products with either your prenatal or family doctor. While using aids like nicotine patches or gum can be a better option than smoking due to the absence of carcinogenic chemicals, it’s important to note that nicotine can still harm your baby’s health if absorbed through breastfeeding.
It’s always best to discuss any concerns you have with your doctor. Smoking during pregnancy is a very common cause of low birth weight in newborn babies, which can then lead to additional complications.
Today, it is a proven fact that low birth weight conditions affect more than 20% of all babies born nationally. Preterm labor is also common in mothers who smoke during pregnancy, with approximately 14% of all cases attributed to smoking while pregnant. Additionally, 10% of all infant mortality cases, including SIDs, can be linked back to smoking during pregnancy. These statistics come from the American Lung Association and underscore the severity of this issue.
When expectant mothers smoke, the negative physical effects on their unborn children are well-documented. But now there’s evidence that smoking while pregnant may also lead to behavioral difficulties in children, such as learning disabilities and general issues with behavior. This is an important finding, as it provides yet another reason for pregnant women to avoid smoking.
It’s fairly simple to avoid the health problems caused by smoking during pregnancy: just don’t smoke. The risks are well-known and extremely serious, ranging from low birth weight to infant death. If you need more motivation to quit, remember that you’re not just risking your own health, but also your baby’s.