Why Stop Smoking During Pregnancy?
Deciding to stop smoking is a good decision for anyone particularly pregnant women. Over 4,000 toxic substances enter our bloodstream everytime we inhale cigarette smoke. Mothers who smoke are exposing their unborn child to poison without considering the harm it causes the baby. It is difficult to stop smoking because nicotine is addictive and the act of smoking is habit forming.
Smoking during pregnancy results in low birth weights, premature and stillborn babies. Blood vessels narrow reducing the supply of oxygen to the baby affecting its heart and lungs. Even smoking one or two cigarettes during pregnancy causes damage to the baby. It affects brain development in the developing fetus particularly during the first three months.
Often people stop smoking because they have a good reason to give up sadly some women don’t see pregnancy as a good enough reason. If you stop smoking at any time during your pregnancy you improve the health of your unborn baby straight away. There is plenty of support from health professionals who will help you to stop smoking.
Why We Love Smoking
Smoking is a bad habit that is very resilient and defies logic. We all know that inhaling over 70 cancer-causing chemicals is not good for us but we still do it. In fact, 9.4 million people in the UK participate in this expensive and unhealthy habit. Smokers lacking in dedication gave up after the smoking ban turfed people out of pubs and public places. For some standing in the freezing cold or the rain doesn’t deter them from taking a cigarette break.
Our bodies respond positively to nicotine which is why it is so addictive. Nicotine is a stimulant and sedative indirectly producing dopamine which gives us pleasure. It also reduces anxiety, increases concentration, is relaxing and makes you more alert. In the past cigarettes apparently relieved; asthma, hay fever, influenza and sore throats. These medicinal qualities were why we got hooked in the first place and made the habit very popular. Young children were encouraged to smoke. Some people questioned the health benefits of cigarettes but these concerns were largely ignored.
The link between cancer and smoking wasn’t made until the 1920’s but it didn’t reduce the popularity of smoking. In fact popularity increased and the government, Sport and the film industry benefited financially from cigarette advertising. It seems that our positive attitude to cigarettes has been inherited from past generations. Fortunately health officials recognise the perils of smoking and are making it more difficult to enjoy the habit.
How Does Smoking Affect Your Unborn Baby?
The Urban dictionary describes a mom as someone who puts her kids before herself and loves them unconditionally. Most people consider an unborn baby to be child technically making the woman carrying them a mother. Parenting involves lots of sacrifices including; missing nights out, restricted finances and interfering with work goals. We put our children's needs first because we love them and want to protect them. Giving a baby alcohol or allowing them to smoke a cigarette is completely unacceptable. Mothers who smoke and drink during pregnancy are exposing their children to the dangers of both of those toxic substances.
First of all, smoking makes it more difficult to get pregnant. If you are successful and manage to conceive smoking will affect the development of your baby. Smoking during pregnancy increases the chances of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, placental abruption, placenta previa, premature birth, low birth rate and birth defects. Even if none of these problems manifests themselves at birth we don’t know the long-term effects.
The only way to prevent damage from cigarettes is to stop smoking. It ensures that you have a healthy baby and that you are a healthy mother. Children run around a lot and so do parents you don’t want your child to suffer because you are unhealthy. Passive smoking also causes damage to an unborn child so both parents should stop smoking.
Ways To Stop Smoking
Stop smoking clinics are the best place to visit if you wish to give up the habit. They give advice on different ways to stop smoking. Tablets like Champix, nicotine patches, nicotine gum and sprays and e-cigarettes contain nicotine are toxic to unborn babies. Phone apps and support groups provide motivation to help you to reduce or quit your habit completely.
Cigarettes are expensive so imagine how many baby clothes, nappies and toys you can buy for your baby if you stop smoking. After the baby is born your doctor will suggest different treatments depending if you are breastfeeding or not.
By Parv Sagoo (March 2018)