Most of us are well aware of the dangers that cigarette smoking can pose. It can cause heart disease, lung disease, cancers of the lungs, mouth, throat, esophagus, and bladder, and even hearing loss, to name a few. The dangers are even more considerable when a pregnant woman smokes cigarettes. It can make it harder to get pregnant in the first place, but there are considerable dangers to the unborn child, as well as lifelong conditions that can plague them after birth. The following are a few of the dangers:
Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely than other women to have a miscarriage. There is also the danger of an ectopic pregnancy, which is when an embryo (the fertilized egg) grows in the wrong place outside the womb, like in a fallopian tube or attached to an ovary. An ectopic pregnancy always ends in pregnancy loss, and it can also result in heavy bleeding and even death for the woman.
Smoking while pregnant can cause problems with the placenta, like placental abruption and placenta previa. The placenta is an organ that grows in the uterus and supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. Placental abruption is when the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth, and the baby may not get enough oxygen and nutrients in the womb. Placenta previa is when the placenta lies very low in the uterus and covers all or part of the cervix, which can cause bleeding and other complications.
Smoking during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born too early – before 37 weeks of pregnancy – or to have low birth weight. The baby will have to stay in the hospital longer, and a few may even die. Premature birth can also lead to a host of problems for the child, such as delays in physical development, learning, and communicating, as well as behavioral problems, neurological disorders, lung and breathing problems, intestinal problems, vision problems, hearing loss, and autism.
Smoking during and after pregnancy is a risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), which is when a baby under one year of age dies suddenly and unexpectedly from unknown causes.
Babies born to women who smoke are more likely to have certain birth defects, like a cleft lip or cleft palate. A cleft lip is when the tissue that makes up the lip does not join completely before birth, resulting in an opening in the upper lip. Cleft palate is when the roof of the mouth does not join together.
If you are trying to quit smoking before or during pregnancy, keep in mind that electronic cigarettes are not a safe alternative. They still contain nicotine, which can damage the baby’s brain and lungs, and many of the flavorings contain harmful chemicals.
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504 to get started.