Are you pregnant and still smoking? If the answer to that question is ‘yes’, then you should do some serious life re-evaluation, sort out your mind-control issues, get educated on the harmful effects that smoking has to your baby, and immediately quit. How many cigarettes you smoke daily is of no importance. Even one cigarette a day will significantly tighten blood vessels and could be responsible for serious damage to your unborn child. (Read: ‘Breastfeeding: Good for the Baby and the Mum’).

“Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including truly nasty things like cyanide, lead, and at least 60 cancer-causing compounds. When you smoke during pregnancy, that toxic brew gets into your bloodstream, your baby’s only source of oxygen and nutrients (Read: ‘Depressive Smoking’).

While none of those 4,000-plus chemicals is good for your baby (you would never add a dollop of lead and cyanide to his strained peaches), two compounds are especially harmful: nicotine and carbon monoxide. These two toxins account for almost every smoking-related complication in pregnancy”,  (Ob-gyn James Christmas, director of Maternal Fetal Medicine for Commonwealth Perinatal Associates at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital in Richmond, Virginia).

Smoking while pregnant will:

  • Lower the amount of oxygen available to you and your growing baby.
  • Increase your baby’s heart rate.
  • Increase the chances of miscarriage and stillbirth.
  • Increase the risk that your baby is born prematurely and/or born with low birth weight.
  • Increase your baby’s risk of developing respiratory (lung) problems.
  • Increases risks of birth defects.
  • Increases risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. (WebMD)
  • Dental health affects your chances of conceiving
  • Oral infections can cause serious harm to your baby including premature birth. (EmergencyDentist)

And as if enough scientific evidence was not there to prove the obvious, a new study comes along to confirm what we all know – when you decide to have a baby you SHOULD quit smoking altogether. Scientists at Durham and Lancaster Universities conducted the pilot study which adds to existing evidence that smoking is harmful to fetuses and their development (Read: ‘E-Cigarettes: Not so Safe after All?’).

‘The researchers observed 80 4-d ultrasound scans of 20 fetuses, to assess subtle mouth and touch movements. Scans were taken at four different intervals between 24 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. Four of the fetuses belonged to mothers who smoked an average of 14 cigarettes per day, while the remaining 16 fetuses were being carried by mothers who were non-smokers.’ (ScienceDaily)

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Lead author Dr Nadja Reissland, in Durham University’s Department of Psychology, said: “Fetal facial movement patterns differ significantly between fetuses of mothers who smoked compared to those of mothers who didn’t smoke. Our findings concur with others that stress and depression have a significant impact on fetal movements, and need to be controlled for, but additionally, these results point to the fact that nicotine exposure per se has an effect on fetal development over and above the effects of stress and depression.”

There is no excuse for smoking while pregnant. Your first priority is your baby’s health- so put that cigarette down and be the mom your child deserves.

More Information on smoking while pregnant:

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Psychologist, world citizen, mother - Effie is one half of the alwaysladies.com founding pair. She can bring to life any party with either a smile, or a strong opinion. If like us you can't get enough of Effie, visit her blog at www.thethinkingmomblog.com

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