Smoking during pregnancy

Why should smoking be avoided?

The clear message emanating from the volumes of statistical evidence on smoking suggest that it should be avoided at all costs. This is particularly true in the case of pregnant women.

A smoker is a smoker regardless of whether they smoke two or 22 cigarettes a day, so cutting down on cigarettes in pregnancy may still have an adverse effect on the health of the unborn child.

Statistics have proved that women who smoke heavily during pregnancy give birth to smaller babies than non-smokers, and smoking after the 16th week of pregnancy has also been statistically proved to cause both mental and physical retardation in a small number of cases in late childhood.

How does smoking affect the unborn baby?

While cigarette smoke has an adverse effect on both the mother and her unborn child, the main cause of concern for the medical professionals caring for pregnant women who smoke is the health of the placenta. Cigarette smoke can damage the placenta, which in turn, reduces the supply of oxygen and the level of nutrition being passed onto the foetus in the womb.

Is there an intolerance to smoking in pregnancy?

The good news is that many women who are heavy smokers under ordinary circumstances develop a complete intolerance to cigarettes during pregnancy. In fact, many women give up cigarettes for the entire nine months of their pregnancy and develop a strong craving for a cigarette immediately after giving birth to their baby!

Who should definitely not smoke?

Most medical professionals believe that no pregnant woman should smoke, but those in whom smoking during pregnancy is absolutely forbidden include the following:

  • Women who are suffering from kidney disease.
  • Women with raised blood pressure.
  • Women with pre-eclampsia, or those who develop any sort of bleeding at any stage during their pregnancy.
  • Women who have had a stillbirth in the past, or those whose child has died within the first two weeks of life.

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