When a woman is pregnant, she needs to be extra careful about her health and diet. Smoking is one of the worst activities for pregnant women, and here we will describe the dangers it poses and why it should be avoided.
Although most people already know that smoking is bad for health, many are surprised to learn that it can lead to adverse outcomes in pregnancy too.
Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of stillbirth and prematurity. If a pregnant woman smokes, she increases the risk of delivering a low birth weight baby and increases the likelihood of the fetus having certain physical and intellectual disabilities. The baby may even develop asthma or other respiratory problems after being born.
Chemicals found in smoke, such as nicotine and carbon monoxide, are passed from mother to baby through the placenta. These act as toxins to the baby, reducing the amount of oxygen they can access in the womb and increasing their risk of being born too soon or having a low birthweight.
Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to experience morning sickness, as well as needing to use pain relief medications such as paracetamol. Smoking lowers the body’s defences against infections and increases the risk of preterm labour. It also increases the risk of stillbirth, which is the death of a baby after 24 weeks of pregnancy but before the start of labour.
It is important for pregnant women to talk to their healthcare provider if they are considering quitting smoking. They may be able to get assistance and advice about quitting during pregnancy. Quitting smoking is the best way to protect both mum and baby from the harmful effects of smoking, and it is never too late to quit.