Smoking and Pregnancy--Time To Quit Smoking

Getting Pregnant In the First Place

We all know that smoking is bad for us, but did you realise that if you or your husband smoke, it can stop you getting pregnant? So if you still trying to get pregnant after months of trying, give up those cigarettes and get hubby to quit too.

Recent research shows that smoking, including passive smoking, significantly lowers fertility in both men and women. In women, smoking can interfere with ovulation, prevent a fertilised egg implanting in the wall of the womb and increase the likelihood of a miscarriage. Men who smoke have a lower sperm count, the sperm they do have are less vital & mobile, and are often not able to fertilise the egg. Also men who smoke have less "lead in their pencil" and have sex less often, so no wonder its harder to get pregnant when either of you smoke!

When You are Pregnant

If you manage to get pregnant and continue to smoke, you are risking not only your health but also the health of your baby. Every cigarette you smoke decreases the amount of oxygen that gets to the baby, which means that the baby won't be able to grow properly. Smokers' babies are more likely to be born premature which risks your baby having lung problems and therefore breathing difficulties both at birth and afterwards. Even babies who are full-term can have lung development problems when their mothers smoke. Research also shows that pregnant women who smoke risk having babies with other abnormalities, including mental retardation. Mothers who smoke have smaller babies with a lower birth weight, and these babies are more likely to suffer with health problems such as asthma and heart disease as they grow up.

Birth Problems and Loss

By smoking, or breathing second-hand smoke, you are also at risk of various pregnancy complications. Two very serious ones are placenta previa, where the placenta covers or partly covers the opening to the birth canal, and the other is placental abruption where the placenta starts to come away before the baby is born. Both of these complications can cause you to haemorrhage, risking your life and the life of your baby. Often this means that the doctors have to give you an emergency caesarean which itself can be dangerous, and takes longer to recover from than a normal birth. If the baby is born early, it may need to be in an incubator, which will make it hard to breastfeed the baby. Smokers are also more likely to lose their babies because of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) usually called a cot death. Pregnant women undergoing drug and alcohol treatment is not unheard of, as some female addicts find themselves pregnant while still using. Of course not all women who smoke have birth complications, but babies of smokers weigh on average 200grams less at birth (about 1/2llb) than women who don't smoke.

However if you give up during your pregnancy, you will help yourself and your baby's health, and enable your baby to be born around your due date and at normal weight.


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