Smoking during pregnancy – the risks

There’s no question about it, smoking during pregnancy is quite possible the worst thing you could do for your baby. Whether one or 20 cigarettes a day, smoking during pregnancy puts your unborn child’s health at severe risk.

Research has found that women who smoke during pregnancy are much more likely to give birth to a baby who is significantly smaller in weight than that of a woman who doesn’t smoke. However, it’s not just the weight of the baby that’s affected, but they could also be born with illnesses, as this is one of the effects inhaled smoke has on them. Babies could also be born with disabilities, or worse, be stillborn.

Women who smoke during pregnancy can also put their baby’s life at risk once they’ve been born, as inhaled smoke increases the chance of cot death, with the risk being four times higher for women who smoke.

If you’re pregnant and are continuing to smoke, stopping immediately will help you and your baby in the following ways:

  • Less morning sickness
  • Fewer complications both during and after your pregnancy
  • Reduced risk of stillbirth
  • Reduced risk of cot death
  • Better coping strategy during the birth
  • Healthier baby

It’s not only smoking during pregnancy that’s bad for the baby, but also the baby breathing in second hand smoke after birth. Second hand smoke affects the baby in a similar way to the child’s mother smoking during pregnancy. It’s still really harmful and can also cause cot death. Over 20,000 children in the UK are admitted to hospital every year as a result of breathing in second hand smoke, so every effort should be made to not put your child in this situation in the first place.

Falling pregnant is a great reason to give up smoking, and there are a huge amount of benefits for both you and those around you in giving up. Help to give up smoking can be sought from your doctor, midwife or another health professional.

If you still feel that you would smoke during pregnancy, you should think about all the plus points in quitting, and how this will benefit your child from the moment they are made and throughout their lives whilst growing up, too. Strength and willpower will help you give up, and there are many people who will help you stick at it.

Why not have a stress and worry free pregnancy, and give yourself the best chance of giving birth to a healthy baby?

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