Can Smoking Harm Your Unborn Baby?
No doubt you’ve heard it more than once: smoking while you are pregnant is unhealthy for both you and your unborn child. When you do smoke, you are putting two people’s health at risk: yours and your baby’s.
The risk of complications to pregnancy caused by smoking are many and in some cases can prove fatal to your unborn baby. Here are just some of the problems that can arise.
Miscarriage and Stillbirth
Losing a pregnancy unexpectedly is always a traumatic experience but it is exacerbated tremendously when one is left to wonder whether or not it could have been prevented. Miscarriage occurs within the first trimester (the first three months) of pregnancy. Beyond that, it is typically referred to as stillbirth.
The chemicals in cigarettes – tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide being most common – are often to blame when miscarriage occurs. This is true if you smoke or if you live with someone who does. Those chemicals also contribute to placental complications which are often the cause of miscarriage and stillbirth.
Nicotine causes contractions in the fallopian tubes. When that happens, the embryo cannot pass through. When a fertilised egg becomes implanted in the fallopian tube it threatens the life of the mother and must be removed. Smokers are five times more likely to experience an ectopic pregnancy than non-smokers.
With premature birth come a litany of risks that include:
- Impaired vision or blindness
- Impaired hearing or deafness
- Mental disabilities
- Learning disabilities
- Behavioural issues
- Life-threatening health complications
The rate of premature births is growing worldwide. While there are many possible reasons why this is true, the fact remains that there are causes that can be prevented. Smoking while pregnant is one of them. Several recent studies have shown clear correlations between smoking and premature birth.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) recently revealed that a woman who smokes during her first trimester is at a 20-70 percent greater risk of having a baby with congenital heart problems as well as other health complications including cleft palate and cleft lip.
Low Birth Weight
Low birth weight babies (those weighing less than 5.5 pounds or 2.5 kilograms) are born to mothers who smoke at a rate of 2 to 1. Medical advancements have drastically reduced the instances of death from low birth weight, but it remains a serious problem and one that can sometimes be prevented, particularly by not smoking while pregnant. Many of the same problems associated with premature birth (and more) are also associated with low birth weight.
If you think you might be pregnant or are planning to become pregnant but can’t quit smoking, I am here to help!
I offer hypnosis therapy for smoking cessation throughout Australia. My services include individual one-to-one sessions as well as sessions over telephone and Skype. No matter how many times you’ve tried to quit, the time to do so is now if you so much as think you might be pregnant.