What are the effects of smoking while pregnant? Well, we don’t want to go in hard on the horror stories, but smoking and pregnancy are two things that are best left unmixed.
In this blog, we’ll give you a little sense of why. And we know it can be super super tough to do, but we’ll give you some tips on how to quit smoking while pregnant too.
In this article: 📝
- How bad is smoking while pregnant?
- Can I smoke one cigarette a day while pregnant?
- What happens to a baby when the mother smokes?
- And the effects of smoking while pregnant on you?
- How to quit smoking while pregnant safely
How bad is smoking while pregnant?
Smoking while pregnant is something that all medical professionals will tell you to avoid. You’ve probably heard this already, but it’s pretty harmful. It’s bad for your body and, as your baby is dependent on your body during this time, it’s bad for their body too.
Of course, with smoking during pregnancy – or smoking at all – it’s not guaranteed with absolute certainty that bad things will happen. But continuing to smoke (while pregnant, but also outside pregnancy) does make the risk of bad things happening much higher.
Can I smoke one cigarette a day while pregnant?
Even one cigarette a day while pregnant increases the risk of medical problems, developmental issues, and other health issues. One cigarette is not as bad as ten (or more), but there is no safe lower limit on the number of cigarettes you can smoke. So, yep, even one is a no-go.
What happens to a baby when the mother smokes?
So, what are the possible effects of smoking during pregnancy?
During this time, because you two are sharing a body, what you do to your body will affect your little peanut, too. While there’s no certainty that these things will happen, here’s what can possibly happen to a baby when mama smokes:
There’s a greater chance of low birth weight. One in five babies born to mamas who mix pregnancy and smoking are born underweight. Luckily, doctors are usually well-equipped to handle this – but it can still lead to further complications.
Baby might have weaker lungs because of smoking. This means they may have breathing difficulties as a newborn, and possibly even later on in their life.
When a mama smokes during pregnancy – or after birth – there’s a greater risk of SIDS, or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
There’s an increased risk of a cleft lip or other birth differences.
You’re more likely to have a preterm birth if you smoke while pregnant. Smoking while pregnant increases the chances of an early birth.
And the effects of smoking while pregnant on you?
Smoking affects baby – but it also harms you. Here are some of the things that mamas who smoke are risking. Again, they’re not guaranteed, but the risk is higher.
Heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other illnesses.
Ectopic pregnancy. This is when the fertilized eggs implants outside of the uterus. It can be life-threatening, so doctors try to remove the embryo before it grows.
Placental abruption. The placenta is the thing that forms during pregnancy to supply the fetus with oxygen and energy as it grows. Smoking increases the chances of it separating from the uterus – which can be very serious.
Miscarriage. Smoking while pregnant increases the chances of pregnancy loss.
How to quit smoking while pregnant safely
The possible effects of smoking while you’re pregnant can be tough to hear. The only way to avoid them is to quit. That might be easier said than done, of course. But millions of mamas have managed it – and if they can, so can you. Here are some tips to help.
In an ideal world, quit while you’re planning to have a baby. If you’re planning to have a child, it might help to set a date to quit smoking before pregnancy. As there’s already a lot going on while pregnant, it might be more of a challenge to focus on quitting.
Right now is always the best time to stop. Quitting at any stage of your pregnancy will bring health benefits for you and your baby. If you’ve not managed to quit smoking fully in the first week, it’s still worth trying hard to stop for the rest of your pregnancy.
Try nicotine replacement. If you’re struggling to kick the habit, nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can help. You might want to try patches, gum, sprays, or lozenges.
If your partner smokes, quit together. It may be even tougher to quit if someone else in your house smokes. Supporting each other through the change can be helpful.
Get in touch with smokefree.gov. The US agency will give you a free quit smoking plan – and lots of free tools to help.
The harmful effects of smoking while pregnant are real. But quitting, whatever stage of pregnancy you’re at, will help. You’ve got this, mama!
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