People usually smoke for different reasons with stress and fun being some of the common reasons. At first, smoking was mainly associated with men but as time went by, women also started smoking. It is not easy to stop smoking especially if you’ve been doing it for years. However, some decisions in life not only affect us but also other people we love. Smoking is one of the habits that affect a lot of people across the world. There are numerous side effects associated with cigarette smoking and although people know about them, some are still adamant to quit smoking. Pregnant women should not smoke whatsoever. In fact, they should not be close to a smoker to avoid being passive smokers which not only affects their health but also that of their unborn child.
Why should you give up smoking when pregnant?
If you are pregnant, you should not be smoking because you will be exposing your unborn child to dangers associated with smoking. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), more than 1,000 babies die every year as a result of their mothers being smokers. An unborn child is dependent on its mother to provide all necessary requirements through the umbilical cord. Some of the essential materials exchanged through the umbilical cord include oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients, energy among others. However, it is important to understand that the umbilical cord does not choose what passes through it. Therefore, when a mother smokes, the toxins that come from the cigarette passes through the umbilical cord into the baby. Since the baby has passive immunity and it is not strong, it is affected by cigarette toxins. In addition, cigarette smoking also damages the placenta leading to serious complications during pregnancy. This can lead to stillbirth or a miscarriage.
Effects of smoking on the baby
Smoking while pregnant has the following effects on your unborn baby:
- Reduce supply of oxygen
Smoking reduces the amount of oxygen you have in your blood prompting your baby to struggle since it does not have enough oxygen. Cigarette smoke contains large amounts of carbon monoxide, tar among other toxins. Therefore, when you smoke, this carbon monoxide replaces oxygen in your blood. Since your baby is getting oxygen from your blood, it will struggle to breathe due to insufficient oxygen causing abnormal heartbeats or palpitation. This later causes cardiovascular problems as the baby’s heart tries to beat vigorously to compensate for oxygen needed.
- Deprivation of nutrients
Tar and nicotine are some of the toxic substances that are contained in a cigarette. When a pregnant mother smokes, these substances constricts blood vessels making it hard for nutrients and other essential substances to enter the placenta. This leads to underdevelopment of your child and your baby may develop serious health problems or complications as a result.
- Undersized baby
A pregnant mother who smokes is a risk of delivering a baby who is undersized due to nutrients deprivation. Alternatively, the baby may be experiencing severe illnesses that require it to be offered professional help in a hospital or nursery for a few weeks or months. Research also shows that children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy have higher chances of developing asthma or other respiratory diseases. These children may also have weaker immune systems when compared to other healthy children.
- Brain damage
The brain is one of the vital organs in the body and it requires a large amount of blood to function properly. When an unborn child is deprived nutrients and have insufficient oxygen, chances are high that it will develop mental problems when they grow up if they are lucky to survive pregnancy. These children are also likely to suffer from mental disorders, depression and behavioural problems as a result of their brain damage. It is advisable for moms who smoke while pregnant to stop smoking for their well-being as well as that of their unborn child.
Some people may not know the risk they are putting their unborn children through as a result of smoking. If you are a smoker and you want to quit, you need to be committed, disciplined and willing to quit smoking because it is not easy. There are numerous techniques you can use to regulate and eventually stop smoking. All you need to do is do a thorough research online and seek help from your friends, family members and professionals.