Pregnancy is a time of great change for a woman, not only on a physical level, but also on an emotional level. Facing a new situation and also managing hormonal modifications can mean an increase in stress and anxiety, taking into account that, to preserve the health of the baby growing inside the mother's uterus, there are many indications by doctors that must be added to our day to day, such as a greater intake of certain nutrients, such as some vitamins or minerals, or abandon harmful habits.
One of them is tobacco use. A large number of pregnant women who are smokers automatically quit smoking because they immediately feel that the smell or taste of tobacco generates unpleasant sensations. Other women, who do not have this reaction, drastically reduce the consumption of this substance. But is it enough to decrease daily cigarettes or should we stop smoking automatically when we discover that we are pregnant? In we explain what happens if a pregnant woman smokes.
Is smoking bad during pregnancy?
Tobacco is a habit harmful to health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), this substance is responsible for the deaths of more than 7 million people a year. More than 6 million of them are active smokers, but the rest (about 900,000 individuals) are so-called passive smokers, who are exposed to tobacco smoke directly but do not consume it. This global health problem is one of the priorities of the World Health Organization, which also refers to pregnant women in this regard.
The WHO states that if a pregnant woman does not quit smoking during pregnancy, it can cause serious problems for the baby, such as a deficiency in its growth and development within the uterus, as well as increase the chances that it will suffer from some diseases after birth. It also recommends that the nursing mother avoid tobacco use because this way she continues to provide the baby with toxic substances.
Negative effects on the baby from smoking during pregnancy
Tobacco use during pregnancy harms the baby in a noticeable way. This product contains a large number of chemicals, among which are some very toxic ones such as cyanide or lead, which can cause very negative consequences in your body.
- Miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy: First, smoking increases the chances of suffering a miscarriage or an ectopic pregnancy (which instead of developing inside the uterus does so outside, usually in the fallopian tubes, and is high risk), in addition to complications such as hemorrhages and premature births.
- Delayed growth of the baby: one of the main effects that tobacco has on the development of the baby is the delay of its growth. This occurs because the carbon monoxide that the mother inhales when she smokes reduces the amount of oxygen the baby receives by up to 40%. In this way your body, your organs, do not have normal growth, but more retarded. In general, babies born to smoking mothers usually weigh on average 200 grams less than those who do not have a smoking mother.
- Lung problems in the baby: one of the organs of the baby that suffers the most are the lungs. It affects their development, so they are usually smaller than those of a newborn whose mother has not smoked during pregnancy. In this way it is more prone to suffer pulmonary pathologies, such as asthma, and other conditions such as allergies and inflammations of the respiratory and auditory tract.
- Possible future cancer: it also increases the probability that in the future some type of cancer will develop, and if there is a genetic predisposition to any malformation you are more likely to suffer from it. In addition, tobacco increases the chances that the baby will suffer sudden death, whether the mother smokes during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
How to Quit Smoking During Pregnancy
Have you just found out you're pregnant, a smoker, and want to quit? We know that it is not easy, but we give you some tips and we recommend that you go as soon as possible to your family doctor to give you the appropriate guidelines to get it.
- Do physical activity: perform a gentle physical exercise suitable for your state. You will help oxygenate your body better and eliminate toxins.
- Hydrate yourself correctly: keeping your body well hydrated is essential, both for you and your baby, in addition to helping to eliminate the toxins present in your body. Water, juices, infusions… consult with a nutritionist to discover all the possibilities.
- Protect yourself from anxiety and stress: quitting smoking generates a state of anxiety, which can cause you not to rest well and your baby to suffer stress. Go to relaxation classes or try to do it at home yourself when you go to sleep or take a hot bath. Candles and soft music can help you achieve this.
Now that you know what happens if a pregnant woman smokes, you may also be interested in this other article on How to Take Care of Yourself During Pregnancy.