The Risks of Smoking During Pregnancy Are Greater Than You Think
The risks of smoking during pregnancy have been known for some time so it’s surprising that so many women still smoke while pregnant. Non-smokers fail to understand how a woman can continue to smoke even though the potential harm to her baby is significant.
Smoking affects the user on a behavioral and physical level to the point where the smoker’s entire day is mapped around when they can have a smoke break. Paired with the physical addiction, this can make smoking one of the most challenging addictions to overcome.
There are many risks of smoking during pregnancy that could affect the health and future of the unborn child. Low birth weight is an immediate concern with long term effects such as vision problems, learning disabilities and respiratory problems potentially affecting the child long into his or her formative years.
Respiratory failure is one of the most immediate life threatening risks of smoking during pregnancy. Babies born to smokers often require supplemental oxygen and close monitoring. Chemicals that are passed to the baby through the placenta have a direct effect on the body’s ability to regulate breathing. This is often due to improper lung development brought on by the many harmful chemicals found in cigarette smoke.
The most devastating of the risks of smoking during pregnancy is the increased likelihood of sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS. Research has shown a strong link between a mother’s smoking and the unexpected loss of a newborn baby. This heartbreaking loss happens suddenly and without warning.
During further study of the risks of smoking during pregnancy, a link was found between smoking while pregnant and leukemia. Smoking has been linked to many different forms of cancer so it should come as no surprise that researchers are now seeing an increased risk of cancer in children whose mother smoked while pregnant.
The unborn infant is not the only life with increased potential for health problems. Pregnant women who smoke also increase the likelihood that they will suffer from complications during the pregnancy or through labor and delivery. Since smoking restricts the blood vessels, there is an increased risk of high blood pressure in moms who smoke. Known as pre-eclampsia, high blood pressure during pregnancy poses a significant risk to the expectant mother often requiring early delivery of the baby. Depending on how premature the infant is, there could be significant health and developmental problems that are both a financial and emotional strain.
With all of the risks of smoking during pregnancy, expectant moms who smoke should make quitting their number one priority. Visit our Home Page to learn more about the safest and most effective way for expecting mothers to quit smoking.