Smoking While Pregnant
When a women is pregnant, it is in the best interest of her unborn child for her to be mindful of what she puts into her body; because she and the child are connected, what she is exposed to, the baby is exposed to as well. From the food that she eats to the air that she breathes, the substances that enter her body ultimately reach her developing child. To that end, it is imperative that expectant mothers limit exposure to certain things, and eliminate exposure to others altogether. One that falls into this latter category is tobacco.
When a woman smokes while she is pregnant, she is putting her baby at risk for a litany of health problems. Infants born to mothers who smoke are more likely to be born prematurely, to have birth defects in their mouth and lip areas, or to have a low birth weight. While some might think that using e-cigarettes is a safe alternative, as many of the toxic chemicals in traditional filter cigarettes are removed, this is not the case; nicotine, the addictive ingredient in cigarettes, is just as harmful to a developing child. The development of a baby’s lungs and brain can be impacted by exposure to nicotine.
Even women who do not smoke themselves need to be mindful of their exposure to secondhand smoke. When a mother has consistent exposure to this, she is at an increased risk for the aforementioned complications; even without smoking herself, she can still see the ramifications of tobacco use on her developing child simply through secondhand exposure. While ending a smoking habit cold turkey is notoriously difficult, expectant mothers are not advised to use nicotine gum or patches to help with the process; the impact that these can have on developing babies remains to be seen. However, if the benefits that will come from the mother ending her smoking habit outweigh the potential risks associated with the use of nicotine replacements, then such measures can be taken carefully and under close medical supervision.