Smoking during pregnancy is increasing in Indian females especially in urban females. It affects your baby’s health before, during, and after birth. The quantum of the smoking problem in Indian women is not far behind the women in the west. The number of female smokers in India has more than doubled from 1980 to 2012. An average Indian male smokes about 6 cigarettes a day as compared to 7 in females.
Passive Smoking – The main culprit!
Passive smoking is the combination of smoke from a burning cigarette and smoke exhaled by a smoker. The nicotine and numerous other poisons you inhale from a cigarette are carried through blood and passed to your baby. In addition to being fetotoxic, these substances have bad affects on your blood system and decrease the amount of oxygen in blood. Although smoking is a cause of infertility in women, even if the female becomes pregnant there is increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and spontaneous abortions.
Both active and passive smoking during pregnancy is associated with risks in fetus, including low birth weight, preterm rupture of membranes , preterm delivery, abruption placentae, placenta praevia, still births and congenital anomalies in infants. Infants have more risk of sudden infant death syndrome, and an increased risk of childhood respiratory illnesses like asthma, bronchitis and learning disabilities.
Quitting is the only way:
Despite the well-known health risks associated with smoking during pregnancy, many women find it difficult to quit . Harm occuring to the baby is directly proportional to the number of cigarettes you smoke but there is no ‘’safe’’ level of smoking while pregnant. Pregnancy is a time which is most vulnerable to improvement in habits. Women can quit smoking easily during pregnancy than any other time in their lives. A mother-to-be can be taught that baby birth weight can be significantly improved if she quits smoking before her 30th week. Quitting smoking not only reduces risks of health problems for the baby but also reduces rate of complications during delivery and also benefits women long term health.
Post delivery smoking is also harmful:
Smoking can cause health hazards to the baby even after delivery, baby being a passive smoker here. Baby can be exposed to harmful dose of chemicals through breastfeed it takes.Cigarette smoking also decreases your milk production.Also remember that breathing the smoke poses health risks to the baby including an increased risk of asthma,bronchitis and SIDS(sudden infant death syndrome).
Quitting smoking is a tough job for the mother.It needs strong motivation ,will power and persistence to achieve .But one achieved and maintained,your entire family will have the benefits.