Pregnancy is a time of joy and excitement, but it can also be filled with uncertainty and anxiety. As an expecting mother, you want to do everything possible to ensure the health and well-being of your baby. If you smoke, of the best things you can do for your baby is to break that habit.
Smoking during pregnancy is not only harmful to your own health, but it can also have severe consequences for your baby. The number of smoking mothers has dropped precipitously in recent years. Just 4.6% of mothers reported smoking cigarettes during their pregnancy, a 36% decrease from 2016 to 2021. According to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, and infant mortality.
Let's take a closer look at how smoking affects pregnancy and the steps you can take to quit for your baby's health.
The Effects of Smoking on The Mother
As an expectant mother, you want to do everything you can to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby. But unfortunately, smoking during pregnancy can have serious consequences for you and your unborn child.
Smoking during pregnancy increases the chance of ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, often in the fallopian tube. Not only can this be extremely dangerous for the mother, but it can also lead to a miscarriage.
Smoking during pregnancy can also increase your chances of developing placenta previa, a condition where the placenta covers the cervix, making vaginal delivery impossible. This can result in the need for a cesarean delivery, which can be riskier for both you and your baby.
A CDC study suggests that premature delivery is another risk associated with smoking during pregnancy. Babies born prematurely can have a higher risk of health problems and even death.
Smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, as per a CDC study (defined as the loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks). Unfortunately, smoking during pregnancy can increase the likelihood of this happening.
In addition to complications during pregnancy, smoking during pregnancy can have lasting effects after pregnancy. It can cause low milk supply and milk let-down issues during breastfeeding. Additionally, smoking during and after pregnancy increases the risk of baby colic.
The Effects of Smoking on The Baby
When you smoke during pregnancy, your unborn baby is exposed to harmful chemicals that can have serious consequences for their health.
Low Birth Weight
Smoking can also result in an underweight baby that struggles with weight gain. This means the baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces. Low birth weight can lead to a range of health problems for your baby, including respiratory distress syndrome, bleeding in the brain, and difficulty regulating body temperature.
As per a CDC study, smoking also increases the risk of stillbirth. A stillbirth is when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This can be devastating for parents and can have serious emotional and psychological consequences.
Born With Defects
Smoking during pregnancy can increase your baby's chances of birth defects. These can include cleft lip or palate, heart defects, and problems with the digestive system.
SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
Finally, smoking can increase the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), the sudden and unexpected death of an otherwise healthy baby during its first year of life. The exact cause of SIDS is unknown, but it can be related to problems with breathing and arousal during sleep.
How To Quit Smoking During Pregnancy
Quitting smoking during pregnancy is critical to ensure your baby's health. Not only will stopping reduce the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth, but it will also reduce the risk of your baby developing health problems later in life.
So, how can you quit smoking during pregnancy? Here are some tips and strategies to help you kick the harmful habit:
Set a Quit Date
Choose a date to quit smoking and stick to it. Write it down and tell your friends and family so they can offer support and encouragement.
Talk to your healthcare provider about resources to help you quit smoking, such as support groups, counseling, and nicotine replacement therapy. You can also reach out to friends and family for support.
Identify situations or activities that trigger the urge to smoke and avoid them. For example, if you usually smoke after meals, try going for a walk instead.
Find activities to keep your mind and hands occupied, such as exercise, knitting, or reading a book.
Take care of yourself by getting enough rest, eating healthy foods, and practicing relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.
Celebrate Your Progress
Take pride in every day that you don't smoke and celebrate your progress. You can reward yourself with a treat or a fun activity to celebrate your progress.
Avoid Smoking While Pregnant
Smoking during pregnancy will cause many complications for you and your baby. While quitting smoking is hard, it is one of the most important ways you can protect your health and the health of your baby.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.