Smoking and Pregnancy- What You Should Know
Smoking in itself is bad for health. It is detrimental to society as well as your organs. It not only affects your lungs but also causes cancer, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, COPD, certain eye diseases, and also affects the immune system. When coupled with pregnancy, both the mother and child are at risk. The chemicals in a cigarette include nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar. Risks significantly increase with smoking for both the mother and the unborn child. This can sometimes also be fatal.
If you are trying to get pregnant and are smoking, the chances are you won’t be able to conceive. It causes fertility problems both in males and females, in fact, they are twice as likely to face fertility problems compared to non-smokers. Smoking affects the baby even in the first trimester. Even second-hand smoking can have carcinogenic effects on the fetus.
Smoking while being pregnant can cause an unexpected loss of pregnancy especially, in the first trimester. Rarely, it even occurs after 20 weeks; this is a stillbirth. The placenta is also affected due to smoking; one such serious condition is called placenta abruption. This is when the placenta separates from the uterus before childbirth. It can cause severe bleeding and could be life-threatening for both the mother and the child. Immediate medical attention may increase the chance of a healthy birth. Smoking can lead to slow fetal development as well.
Ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized embryo is implanted outside the uterus. It is believed that nicotine can cause contractions in the fallopian tube preventing the embryo from passing through. In the situation where an ectopic pregnancy happens, the embryo has to be removed to avoid any life-threatening complications.
Smoking during pregnancy can also increase the chances of preterm birth. There are numerous health risks attached to early birth. It does not allow the fetus to fully develop; it could lead to-
- Mental disabilities,
- Learning and behavioral problems,
- Visual and hearing problems and
- Complications that could lead to death.
Multiple risks are associated with smoking, some that even lead to death. It is better to avoid smoking altogether and not just during pregnancies. Multiple sources are available to help you quit. Stay safe, stay healthy.