Smoking and Pregnancy
We always advocate that a woman quit smoking, even when she is not pregnant. However, now that you are pregnant, it is particularly important that you stop smoking, as this can affect the health of you AND your baby.
There are several reasons why smoking during a pregnancy is potentially harmful. The nicotine present in cigarettes can cause blood vessels to constrict, or narrow. Because the placenta is composed of multiple blood vessels, this means that less oxygen and nutrients are able to reach the developing baby. The baby is also exposed to the same chemicals present in cigarettes as the mother: tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide.
Problems associated with smoking during pregnancy:
▪ Increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (LINK), a pregnancy that implants outside the uterus
▪ An increase in the risk of a stillbirth
▪ A baby that is smaller than average for age
▪ Problems with the placenta, including
▪ Placenta previa—a placenta that covers part or all of the cervix, the opening to the uterus
▪ Placental abruption—the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before delivery. This can cause massive maternal or fetal bleeding and fetal death.
Problems with smoking after pregnancy:
▪ Increased risk to the baby of asthma
▪ Increased risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
What can I do to quit?
This is the best time possible to quit smoking—for you and your baby. Some things that might
▪ Set a quit date and throw all your cigarettes away on this date. Once you do, nicotine is completely out of your system within approximately twenty-four hours. The days after that can be spent adjusting the social habits that drive you to want to smoke—things like driving or eating a meal. If you can stop while you are pregnant, you can stop forever!
▪ Discuss quitting with your partner and other family members. Even if they are not willing to quit with you, ask that they only smoke outside and do not smoke in the car with you.
▪ Some people may require the nicotine patch or gum. However, there can be risks involved with this, so discuss with your doctor before using.
We are here to help you. Please call us if there is anything we can do to help you make this monumental change toward a healthier life and pregnancy!