Today, the majority of the population are aware of the harmful effects of smoking. However, for smokers who are pregnant, smoking can hurt the baby growing inside them as well. In the United Kingdom, smoking during pregnancy results in as many as 5,000 miscarriages and about 2,200 births happening prematurely annually.
But it is never too late to help and loads of help is available to aid that. In fact, a lot of women manage to stop smoking successfully. In 2019, in England, the recorded rate of smoking during delivers was the lowest ever recorded in history.
How Are Babies Affected By Smoking At The Time Of Pregnancy?
When the mother smokes, the baby smokes as well. Now, each cigarette comprises about 4,000 chemicals. These travel into the mother’s lungs every time a puff is taken. Once inside the lungs, the carbon monoxide, nicotine, and other chemicals all travel across the placenta and into the baby.
Research has proven that smoking during pregnancy can harm the baby in several different ways. Among them is an increased risk of suffering a miscarriage, or having to give birth prematurely. Stillbirths as well as the baby having low weight at birth also has a higher chance of happening if the mother smokes during pregnancy.
Furthermore, it is also known to cause abnormalities with the development of the placenta during the pregnancy, if the mother smokes. Examples are placenta abruption where severe bleeding is caused by the placenta and the uterus separating before childbirth. The other condition is placenta previa where the placenta does not move to the natural position in the womb thus resulting in excessive bleeding as well as suffocating the fetus.
Low weight at birth can lead to severe disabilities and health problems. Even though there are fewer deaths happening due to medical advancements, it remains one of the more serious conditions. For instance, it can cause ailments in vision or hearing, cerebral palsy, and developmental delay.
Additionally, the damage does not stop at only the moment of birth. Smoking during pregnancy can adversely affect the overall development of the child while they grow up. Children and babies whose mothers smoked at the time of pregnancy have also been shown to suffer from an increased risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).
Other developmental and health issues that have been shown to have an increased chance of happening in such children are conditions like ADHD, asthma, infections in their ear, infections in their airways, and colic.
Smoking at the time of pregnancy is also known to cause psychological problems during childhood such as poor performance in education and disruptive behavior.
So, for any aspiring and pregnant woman, it is in the best interests of the baby’s health and yours to stop smoking. Talk to your medical advisors without any fear or shame because they will be more than willing to help with quitting smoking while a baby is growing inside you.