The Effects Of Smoking During Pregnancy
Tue, April 20, 2021

The Effects Of Smoking During Pregnancy

So, if you are a smoker and wondering if smoking during pregnancy is safe, the answer is no. Smoking is dangerous to anyone, let alone a pregnant woman and much more so to a baby in the womb / Photo by: Wong Yu Liang via 123RF

 

Pregnancy is a delicate phase in a woman’s life. There are a lot of restrictions and lifestyle changes that have to be followed since everything that the mother takes into her system can have an effect on the unborn child’s general health. So, if you are a smoker and wondering if smoking during pregnancy is safe, the answer is no. Smoking is dangerous to anyone, let alone a pregnant woman and much more so to a baby in the womb.

The Financial Express, an Indian English-language business newspaper owned by The Indian Express Group, reported that it is advisable for women to quit smoking before conception, if possible, and definitely early in pregnancy. It was also mentioned in their article that bad consequences could happen in the developing baby such as birth defects. The ingredients of the cigarette can cause significant damage to the baby’s brain and lungs as well.

Smoking cigarettes remains as one of the leading causes of preventable death and disease in the United States. America’s Health Rankings, a website formed from the partnership of the United Health Foundation and the American Public Health Association, noted that cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths every year, and these include 201,773 women.

In a study conducted by researchers from the Center for Global Health Research in Toronto, it was estimated that the probability of female smokers living up to age 80 is only 38%. This goes to show how dangerous cigarette smoking could be and what expectant mothers should anticipate if they continue to smoke while they are pregnant.

Diabetes Trigger

Gestational diabetes is harmful to both mother and child. Israeli and US researchers said that smoking increases the risk of gestational diabetes and the dangers that come with it. Times of Israel, an Israel-based, primarily English-language online newspaper launched in 2012, defined gestational diabetes as a type of diabetes that happens in pregnant women.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2% to 10% of pregnancies in the US are diagnosed with gestational diabetes every year. This condition can increase the risk of high blood pressure during pregnancy in the expectant mother. Gestational diabetes also causes babies to have higher than average-weight even before being born that could trigger early and complicated delivery. The disease also can also cause a higher chance for babies to have low blood sugar and to develop type 2 diabetes in their lives.

An international team of researchers on obstetrics and gynecology reported that pregnant women who smoke but who cut down their cigarette intake could still have a 22% higher risk of developing gestational diabetes than those who never smoked or those women who chose to quit smoking before they conceived. 

Gestational diabetes is harmful to both mother and child. Israeli and US researchers said that smoking increases the risk of gestational diabetes and the dangers that come with it / Photo by: Parinya Binsuk via 123RF

 

Beware the Smoke

Even those women who don't smoke cigarettes at all are in danger if someone around them smokes. Secondhand smoke exposure can also cause damage to the unborn child as it can lead to respiratory and ear infections. Of course, it’s well documented that in adults, smoking can cause heart disease and lung cancer among a myriad of ailments directly related to the habit. It is estimated that secondhand smoke causes 41,000 deaths in the US every year. 

American Pregnancy, a non-profit organization that promotes pregnancy wellness and increases the awareness of pregnancy needs, reported that secondhand smoke can cause miscarriage, low birth weight, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

An additional concern for all but most especially for pregnant women and children is thirdhand smoke that can affect everyone without them realizing it. Thirdhand smoke is the residual nicotine and other chemicals left on surfaces by tobacco smoke. By merely touching such contaminated surfaces, an individual can be exposed to these chemicals and get the same harmful effects as if they were actually smoking.

The residue left behind by cigarettes on furniture, rugs, and even on paint on the walls can stick around for months or years. Tobacco residue can make a place smell like smoke even if no one is currently smoking. What harms pregnant women is the toxins that can enter their bloodstream once they either touch or breathe something that contains the residue. 

Based on a study performed by researchers from the Los Angeles Research Institute, thirdhand smoke can have a detrimental effect on prenatal lung development. This is why if a woman is trying to get pregnant, it is advisable to minimize the amount of thirdhand smoke in the house. 

What To Do

Individuals who stopped puffing cigars before age 40 could live an average of 10 years longer than those people who continue their smoking habit. It is also best to consider the increased risk of health complications that could happen to you and the loved ones around you if you don’t quit smoking. 

Quitting smoking can have a lot of benefits on a person’s long-term health at any age. It could be hard to quit at first, but if you are expecting a child, it means that you are now responsible for another human being. 

Quitting smoking can have a lot of benefits on a person’s long-term health at any age. It could be hard to quit at first, but if you are expecting a child, it means that you are now responsible for another human being / Photo by: Dmytro Zinkevych via 123RF