THE EFFECTS OF
What is this Health Concern?
A woman who smokes while pregnant is at increased risk of a wide range of problems including ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, and premature birth. Women who smoke are twice as likely to give birth to a low birth weight baby compared to non-smokers. To stop smoking completely before deciding to fall pregnant or as early as possible after conception is a much better option for the health of babies and their mothers.
ON MATERNAL HEALTH
BY ELLY HOWELL
SMOKING DURING PREGNANCY IS THE NUMBER 1 CAUSE OF ADVERSE OUTCOMES IN BABIES
The effects of smoking on pregnancy
- Lowers the amount of oxygen available to the mother and the growing baby
- Increases baby's heart rate
- Increases the chances of miscarriage and stillbirth
- Increases the chances of premature birth and/or with low birth weight
- Increases the baby's risks of developing respiratory (lung) problems, as well as metabolic and neurological problems
- Increases risks of birth defects
- Increases the chance of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
- Increased risk of obesity, cancers, high blood pressure, allergies and middle ear disease
- Effects the placenta
TO DECREASE THE CHANCE OF DEVELOPING THESE DEFECTS, IT IS MANDATORY TO QUIT SMOKING
Strategies to stop smoking
- Hide matches, ashtrays, and lighters
- Designate your home to be a smoke-free place
- Ask people who smoke not to smoke around you.
- Drink fewer caffeinated beverages; caffeine may stimulate your urge to smoke. Also avoid alcohol, as it may also increase your urge to smoke and can be harmful to your baby.
- Change your habits connected with smoking. If you smoked while driving or when feeling stressed, try other activities to replace smoking.
- Keep mints or gum (preferably sugarless) on hand for those times when you get the urge to smoke.
- Stay active to keep your mind off smoking and help relieve tension: take a walk, exercise, read a book, or try a new a hobby
- Look for support from others. Join a support group or smoking cessation program.
- Do not go to places where many people are smoking such as bars or clubs, and smoking sections of restaurants.
A cigarette smoke contains MORE THAN
60 cancer-causing compounds
and at least
Of Women Smoked During Pregnancy in 2014
higher chance of preterm births, associated with parents who smoke
more likely to have a still-born baby if you smoke
TWO TIMES MORE LIKELY
To have a child low of birth weight if you smoke
for babies to die, of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
3x HIGHER CHANCE
If a woman has trouble quitting smoking, then there are alternatives and methods you can follow to make the process easier.
It is recommended that you first try to quit without medication. However, if you are unable to quit, you may use nicotine replacement therapy (gum, lozenges, mouth spray, patches, or an inhalator) to help you. Despite the fact that using these products is considered safer than smoking, these smaller amounts of nicotine may not be entirely risk-free for your baby. If you are pregnant, it is important to consult your doctor before using nicotine replacement therapy to discuss its risks and benefits. Pregnant women should also seek assistance from the Quitline and its advisors for alternative quitting methods.
Promoting a Healthy Life: Strategies and Advantages of Quitting Smoking
Benefits to the Baby
- Save money (Work out what you spend on tobacco and think of what else you could buy with that money, like items for your unborn child)
- Lower your blood pressure and heart rate, so cardiovascular problems are avoided
- Enjoy the improved taste and smell of food
- Reduce the risk of complications like miscarriage, pre-term labour, and being able to produce a sufficient amount of breastmilk
- Reduce your risk of cancer and improve your health overall
- And most importantly take back your life and break the cycle of addiction
- You aren’t passing any more carbon monoxide (a poisonous gas), tar, and other harmful chemicals to your baby
- Your baby has a better chance of being born at a healthy weight. A smaller baby doesn’t mean an easier labour and birth. Smaller babies are more likely to have health issues and may have to stay in hospital longer to be treated.
- If you quit smoking, you baby develops a less chance of suffering from nicotine withdrawals after birth.
- Similarly, babies are less likely to develop smoking addictions when they are older, if their mother doesn't smoke during pregnancy
- Your baby is more likely to be born full-term. Babies born too early often have trouble breathing at birth. They are more likely to have breathing problems (like asthma) as they grow up. They also have a higher risk of cerebral palsy, vision and hearing disorders, and problems with learning.
- You reduce health risks to your child such as SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome/crib death), asthma, ear infections, behavioural problems, learning problems, and ADHD (Attention Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder).