Saturday, November 8, 2014

The risks with smoking while pregnant

Smoking is becoming less and less publicly acceptable.  I have severe smoke allergies and asthma so when I am behind a smoker on the street I usually stop and wait for about a minute until they are far enough away from me before I continue walking.  The number of times having to do this lately though has become less and less.   Another sign of the changing times is that smokers that stand right in front of entrances forcing nonsmokers to walk through a cloud of smoke to get inside are now considered a nuisance and are given dirty looks.  The number of smokers has gown down in the last 10 years reports Gallup.  Currently there is roughly 1 smoker in every 5 Americans. 

According to the CDC the number of pregnant women who smoke during pregnancy has also gone down.  So how many women smoke during pregnancy?  From the Center for Disease Control, approximately 10% of women reported smoking during the last 3 months of pregnancy. Of women who smoked 3 months before pregnancy, 55% quit during pregnancy. Among women who quit smoking during pregnancy, 40% relapsed within 6 months after delivery. 

This is good news but what about the women who relapsed or didn’t attempt to quit at all?  The 4000+ ingredients in cigarettes has been known to decrease fertility, increase risk of stillbirth or miscarriage, low birth weight,  increase risk of breathing problems for your child, placental abruption, and even birth defects. Below is a diagram that shows just a few of the ingredients that are inside that cigarette. 

Smoking while pregnant can affect the heart, brain, and muscular systems of your baby.  

Weight and Size 
Smoking a half of a pack can lower your baby's birth weight up to half a pound.  Smoking a full pack can lower it down one pound or more.  For a baby that is a lot of weight.  

Children of smokers can have lower IQs, learning disabilities, and even behavioral problems.  

Babies whose mother smoked in the first trimester of pregnancy are more likely to have a heart defect than mothers who didn't smoke. 

Body and Lungs
Along with lower birth weights, many children who have smoking mothers can develop asthma and other breathing problems which can affect them their entire life. 

In the British TV Show, "Misbehaving Mums to Be" which follows three young girls per episode that are either over eaters, binge drinkers, or chain smokers.  In one episode Chelsy smokes 20 cigarettes a day and assumes since her first pregnancy was ok, the second one will be as well. You can watch the episode below.

 If you need help to quit call 1-800-QUIT-NOW.  

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