Pregnancy is a milestone in life especially if it is your first time, the excitement of having a new member of the family brings much joy and fulfillment to a woman. In some women however, the thought of pregnancy alone brings a heavy challenge especially if smoking and quitting is a problem.
Pregnant or non-pregnant, quitting is really hard unless you are determined to do it and with enough will power and help from your support group, you can succeed. Knowledge about the risks it poses to you and to your unborn child may help you to decide against it.
Smoking is one of the leading causes of infant complications like prematurity, low birth weight (below 2.5 kg.) and even death.
There are also medications that can cause adverse effects to the unborn child, which can be controlled by simply avoiding it, but the effects of smoking may pose health risks even after the mother decides to quit.
This is because cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals and cancer causing compounds like nicotine and carbon monoxide that accumulate in the bloodstream over time and detoxification does not happen overnight once you quit. Since this is in your bloodstream it reaches the infant through the exchange of oxygen and nutrients via the blood through the placenta.
Other serious complications of smoking to the infant during pregnancy include: infants with small organs or have malformations, poor lung function, they tend to be sickly and manifests illnesses like; inflammation of the middle ear, asthmatic bronchitis.
There is also a study that states, children exposed to smoking during pregnancy are more likely to be smokers themselves later in life.
In smoking mothers, the risks involved are premature deliveries, bleeding tendencies, miscarriage and abruptio placenta or early separation of the placenta before delivery of the infant.
Among the risks mentioned, the latter places the highest risk to both mother and child because this can cost both their lives. The mother can be exposed to severe bleeding and the infant to decreased supply of oxygen which may end up as a cause for fetal distress and eventually death.
If you are worried about the effects of smoking, it is time for you to decide early to quit. Plans of conceiving a baby should include a sense of responsibility which should include action plans on how to quit smoking. The effect of smoking is reversible, but an early decision is the key.