You should already know that smoking while pregnant is a huge no-no. Cigarettes contain dangerous chemicals such as nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar- things you certainly don’t want to put into your own body, let alone your baby’s. It has been proven that smoking during pregnancy greatly increases the risk of pregnancy complications- many of which can be fatal for the mother or child. Here are seven good reasons to put the cigarettes down for the next nine months-
1. Getting Pregnant
If you are a smoker, don’t wait until you get pregnant to kick the habit. Same goes fo your partner. Smoking can actually prevent you from getting pregnant in the first place- both smoking and second hand smoke can reduce fertility in both men and women. In fact, women who smoke are 60 percent more likely to be infertile compared to nonsmokers.
2. Miscarriage and Stillbirth
Miscarriages typically occur in the first three months of pregnancy, but can occur after 20 weeks- also known as stillbirth. Smoking increases the risk of both miscarriages and stillbirths because of the dangerous chemicals being ingested by your body.
3. Ectopic Pregnancy
Studies have shown that nicotine can cause contractions in the fallopian tubes, preventing an embryo from passing through. One result of this is an ectopic pregnancy, which happens when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, sometimes in the fallopian tube itself or even in the abdomen. When this happens, the embryo must be removed to avoid life-threatening complications to the mother. Smoking makes an ectopic pregnancy as much as five times more likely.
4. Placental Abruption
Smoking increases the risk for several problems with the placenta, the structure that forms during pregnancy to provide the fetus with nutrients and oxygen. One of these problems is placental abruption which is a condition when the placenta separates from the uterus before childbirth. Placental abruption can cause severe bleeding and threaten the life of both the mother and baby.
5. Placenta Previa
Smoking is also a huge risk factor for placenta previa, which occurs in one out of 200 pregnancies. During pregnancy, the placenta typically moves with the uterus towards the top of the womb, leaving the cervix open for delivery. Placenta previa is when the placenta stays in the lower part of the uterus, partially or fully covering the cervix. The placenta often tears, which then causes bleeding and deprivation of the fetus of vital nutrients and oxygen.
6. Preterm Birth
Premature birth rates are on the rise in the U.S., with more than half a million babies born prematurely every year. Several studies have shown a link between smoking and early delivery. There are numerous health risks associated with a preterm birth, including visual and hearing impairments, mental disability, learning and behavioral problems, and complications that could result in death.
7. Low Birth Weight
A smoker is twice as likely to have a baby that weighs less than 5.5 pounds. Low birth weight doesn’t just mean delivering a small baby- it can lead to other health problems and disabilities. Although advances in medical care have reduced the number of deaths as a result of low birth weight, it is still a very serious problem and can lead to mental retardation, cerebral palsy, hearing or vision ailments, and even the death of the baby.