Smoking during Pregnancy: Some Facts You Should Know

PG Lady by David Fairrington  Acrylic 1997
Despite the alarming side effects of smoking, millions of people can’t live a day without it. Tobacco is sold everywhere and you need no prescription for it. Same with alcohol, tobacco is perhaps the most abused drugs in the world. Even though numerous health groups, public and private organizations in the country are very active on pushing a smoke-free world, the number of smokers increases each day. Smoking bans have been implemented in public places but people just can’t give it up. Even if taking just one cigarette puts their life at risk.

What about Smoking?
Everybody knows that smoking is bad for our health. It’s on the cigarette packaging. But the problem with those warning signs is that they’re too short to make people understand the severe effects of smoking. As to what extent is cigarette harmful, only a few people dare to know. Aside from being addictive, cigarette or tobacco smoking is a societal expression. For teenagers, this is a symbol of being cool and ‘in’. For adults, smoking is one way to break free from a very stressful world. But the very substance that makes it addictive is a type of carcinogen or a substance that causes cancer. You know what it is – nicotine. But if you think that it only nicotine that is found on tobacco, you’re way too wrong! There are over 4,000 substances that make up one cigarette stick. And all of them are all dangerous to your health.

There’s no wonder why smoking has been one of the long-time causes of not just in America but in most parts of the world. In fact, one in every 5 people dies from smoking in the US. This accounts for 400,000 deaths. In UK, there are 100,000 people who also die from the same cause each year. And in China, there are about 3,000 who die each day.

Smoking during Pregnancy
If adult people die because of the harmful effects of smoking, what can a tiny fetus do to stay away from the hazards that tobacco brings? Smoking during pregnancy is one way of killing the baby. Some women may tell you that nothing happened to their kids when they smoked while pregnant. But majority of those who smoke while pregnant have experienced the stern effects of cigarette to their health and to their babies. Some women experience hard labor, premature deliveries, and miscarriages. Others had some complications. There are moms who were able to deliver normally but the defects are seen on their child. Usually, babies born by moms who smoke are smaller in size which shows how weak their body is to fight foreign substances that cause varying diseases. These children may also have smaller organs which lead to abnormalities.

Maternal Smoking and Premature Babies
You might wonder – what’s wrong with premature babies? Aren’t small babies easier to deliver? In some way it is. But being born ahead of expected schedule can mean that the baby has not fully developed yet. The nine months of pregnancy is the timeframe that is necessary for the baby to build up its organs to make it in the outside world without the support of the placenta and umbilical cord. Premature babies may or may not survive their conditions. Most babies die after several days from the day they were born. This is because they are prone to infections, and undeveloped heart and lungs makes it very difficult for them to breathe. Those babies who survive have higher risk of suffering from blindness, mental and developmental problems, and acquiring serious health problems later in life such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer.

Smoking is dangerous to your health, so goes the old saying. It is and always will. Quit now before anything happens to your baby. You don’t want to regret in the end when you can no longer do anything to save your child. Creative Commons License photo credit: Fairrington

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