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What Happens When A Pregnant Woman Smokes?


WORLD NO TOBACCO DAY 2022: World No Tobacco Day is observed across the world, on May 31. It was created by the Member States of the World Health Organization in 1987 to draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes, especially, during pregnancy when smoking is dangerous for both mother as well as the baby.

If you smoke while you are pregnant, there are high chances of you facing a wide range of problems, including miscarriage and premature labour, as per the World Health Organisation (WHO).

ALSO READ: Here’s How Smoking Can Harm Your Sexual Health

Babies, whose mothers smoke during pregnancy, are exposed to the risk of sudden unexpected death in infancy (SUDI), or having weaker lungs or having an unhealthy low birth weight. Therefore, smoking should be prohibited completely as early as possible during pregnancy as it is the best way to protect your health and the health of your baby.

Smoking cigarettes also increases the risk of having a low birth weight baby. Notably, cutting down the number of cigarettes one smokes does not reduce most of the risks to the pregnant lady and the baby.

Pregnancy complications from smoking

Some of the pregnancy complications that are more commonly experienced by women who smoke include ectopic pregnancy which is pregnancy outside the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube. Another complication is fetal death, meaning the death of the baby in the uterus (stillbirth), spontaneous abortion also known as miscarriage

problems with the placenta, and includes early detachment from the uterine wall and blocking of the cervical opening (placenta previa). Premature rupture of the membranes and premature labour are two other complications seen in women.

How To Stop Smoking?

Along with your maternity care team, you can make a quitting plan together.You can also call the Quitline (Tel. 13 7848), where counsellors will provide free support during the pregnancy and for some time after to help you remain quit. Aboriginal Quitline counsellors are also available.

It is advised that one should stop smoking by the fourth month of pregnancy as it can reduce some of the risks, such as low birth weight and premature birth. Remember, stopping smoking at any time allows oxygen to reach the baby more easily.

One can also try nicotine replacement therapy, which includes gum, lozenges, mouth spray, an inhalator, or 16-hour patches for help. While using these products is considered safer than smoking, a smaller amount of nicotine might not be entirely risk-free for your baby. If you are pregnant, speak to your doctor before using nicotine replacement therapy to discuss the risks and benefits of using it.

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