Should I Give Up Smoking During Pregnancy?

Smoking is definitely not recommended during pregnancy. In addition to the health risks of the mother, such as lung cancer and heart disease, smoking while pregnant can also harm your baby.

One of the biggest concerns with smoking during pregnancy is the risk of premature and/or low-birthweight babies. Low birthweight babies tend to have a large number of health problems both immediately after birth and throughout their life that are directly related to their low birthweight. Smoking increases the risk of your baby being born too small by about 30%. The more that you smoke during pregnancy, the greater these risks are. Some studies suggest that if a woman stops smoking before the end of the firs trimester, she can eliminate the increased risk of having a low birthweight baby.

Smoking is also known to cause problems with the placenta. Placenta previa, in which the placenta is low-lying and covers a part or all of the uterine opening, and placental abruption, in which the placenta separates in whole or in part from the uterine wall, are common complications that can be caused by smoking. These placental problems can lead to heavy bleeding during the delivery process that can pose a threat to both the mother and the baby. Placental problems increase the risk of stillbirth due to problems with the placenta.

Some studies show that smoking while pregnant increases the risk of a premature rupture of the membranes. When this happens, a woman will typically go into labor within a few hours. If this happens too soon, before the 37th week of pregnancy, your baby can be born premature.

Some newer studies suggest that newborns of moms who smoke may even experience withdrawal symptoms after birth, much like the baby of a woman who uses illicit drugs.

Some studies suggest a link between prenatal smoking and SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), in which babies whose mothers smoked while pregnant were three times as likely to die from SIDS.

If you smoke and are pregnant, you should quit. There are a variety of smoking cessation methods, and you should find one that will work for you. No matter how hard it is, quitting smoking will greatly reduce the risks to your baby.

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