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Smoking During Pregnancy

Researchers at Bristol University claim up to 60 percent of cot deaths can be prevented, if mothers stop smoking while pregnant.

Frightening isn’t it?

The reality is that your baby is more at risk of dying or developing a life-long health problem because of your smoking habit. It’s a habit that you’re going to have to kick for life, if you want to give birth to and raise a healthy child.

How does smoking harm your unborn baby?

Tobacco smoke contains poisonous chemicals, which mothers pass on to their babies through the bloodstream. It also reduces the amount of oxygen that is passed on to the baby.

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of

  • Miscarriage
  • Low birth weight
  • An early delivery
  • Stillbirth
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

In fact, the presence of tobacco smoke has been found in newborn babies.

Research done at Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, has found that smoking during pregnancy has been linked to an 8% increase in pre-term delivery. A woman is also three times more likely to experience a placental abruption (where the placenta becomes detached from the uterus wall).

“The fact is simple. Smoking is harmful. Quit immediately and don’t ever take another puff”, says Peter Ucko, from the South African National Council against Smoking.

What are the long-term effects of smoking during pregnancy?

Children born to mothers who smoked during their pregnancies are more likely to die of SIDS. What is more concerning, is the more cigarettes the mother smoked, the greater the risk of death.
Children are also more likely to develop life-long illnesses such as asthma and heart conditions.
Babies of smokers are in general sick more often and are more likely to develop colds, coughs, bronchitis and pneumonia than non-smoking moms babies.
Researchers claim that babies, whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, are more likely to smoke as adults.
How is a non-smoking pregnant woman affected by tobacco smoke?
Even if you give up smoking before you fall pregnant, try to stay away from smoky areas like pubs and clubs. Second-hand tobacco smoke is known to have a negative effect on pregnant women, resulting in breathing problems, which ultimately affects the baby.
As the mother inhales the second-hand tobacco smoke, harmful chemicals are absorbed into her blood and are then passed on to the baby.
Tobacco smoke can also make falling pregnant difficult. Smoking is known to damage sperm and can increase the likelihood of birth defects.

So how do you stop smoking?

If you’re a pregnant smoker, there is still hope. Researchers claim that for every consecutive day that a woman doesn’t smoke during her pregnancy, the chances of giving birth to a healthy baby increases.
So stop now.

  • Write down why you want to quit smoking
  • Ask your family and friends to help you quit
  • Avoid situations that make you want to smoke
  • Quit immediately and banish cigarettes from your house, car and office
  • Do something, instead of smoking. Go for a walk, drink water or phone a friend
  • Save the money you would have spent on cigarettes and buy yourself something nice or go for a facial, manicure or pedicure as a reward

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