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The number of women smokers has increased significantly. How does this affect the pre and post-natal period? What can be done to help a woman wean herself of cigarettes during her pregnancy? If she is unable to, what are the possible consequences?

Smoking is dangerous to the health of the baby and also for the pregnant woman. It is advisable to quit smoking before conception or as early in pregnancy as possible.
Problem that can happen to the developing baby involves craniofacial abnormalities I e birth defects of the face ,mouth and lips. There is a higher risk of growth retardation and preterm delivery. Nicotine in tobacco products can damage a developing baby’s brain and lungs also.
Smoking can cause difficulty in conceiving , subfertility or infertility.
Even second hand smoke is now classified as a group A carcinogen. That means it’s known to cause cancer in humans.

Harmful effects on the mother

  • Smoking increases mother’s heart rate and her blood pressure. It increases the carbon monoxide in her blood stream thereby decreasing the oxygen levels in her blood which means the baby also gets less oxygen and thereby harmful consequences. It is important to protect your baby even during breast feeding.
  • Miscarriage & stillbirth
  • Small placenta
  • Intrauterine growth retardation
  • Ectopic pregnancy-Nicotine causes contraction in the fallopian tubes thus preventing fertilized eggs from reaching the uterus resulting in ectopic pregnancy.
  • Placental abruption: Smoking is a major risk factor for complication related to the placenta.This is a condition in which the placenta separates from the uterus before delivery of the baby .It requires immediate admission and may be early delivery of the baby depending upon the severity of bleeding.

Smoking increases mother’s heart rate and her blood pressure. It increases the carbon monoxide in her blood stream thereby decreasing the oxygen levels in her blood which means the baby also gets less oxygen and thereby harmful consequences. It is important to protect your baby even during breast feeding.
Miscarriage & stillbirth
Small placenta
Intrauterine growth retardation
Ectopic pregnancy-Nicotine causes contraction in the fallopian tubes thus preventing fertilized eggs from reaching the uterus resulting in ectopic pregnancy.
Placental abruption: Smoking is a major risk factor for complication related to the placenta.This is a condition in which the placenta separates from the uterus before delivery of the baby .It requires immediate admission and may be early delivery of the baby depending upon the severity of bleeding.

How to wean a woman from smoking?

Quitting smoking is tough but the women needs to be convinced that it is very much possible with the support and guidance of your doctor and of course self help.Quitline coaches are available to help you develop a quit plan and provide support. Healhcare activities to educate pregnancy women or women who are planning a pregnancy about the harm of tobacco use and very helpful in motivating women to quit smoking. Even second hand smoking affects pregnant women in the same way as smoking by themselves so it is important to avoid second hand smoking also.
Quitting smoking at any stage of your pregnancy has health benefits for both mother & baby. Avoiding smoking increases oxygen availability to the baby’s lungs and help them to develop well .There is no safe amount of smoking. E-cigarettes are also not harmless. The nicotine in e -cigarette is harmful for developing babies.

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The First Trimesters – Nutrition Do’s and Don’ts for Health Conscious Moms to be

It is important to maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy.

Your body needs additional nutrients, vitamins, minerals and some 300-350 extra calories each day during pregnancy.

A diet lacking in nutrients, poor eating habits may lead to some pregnancy problems. Similarly over eating or eating all the wrong things may lead to excess weight gain and may also increase your risk of gestational diabetes.

So choosing a healthy, nutritious diet will help ensure that you and your baby both are healthy.

When A non medical friend’s daughter, who was eight weeks pregnant ordered spring rolls at a restaurant, another one of my friends reacted as if she had ordered a double whiskey . “You can’t have Chinese food when you’re pregnant!” she shouted! When I asked her why she thinks so, she said she thought that one cannot have Chinese food during pregnancy. Well, then what do Chinese woman eat during their pregnancy! Actually it is ajinomoto in big quantity which cannot be taken, and Chinese food is safe.

Yes, certain foods can lead to pregnancy problems and one should know about them.

From conception onwards it is very important to have folic acid.

Vitamin D is another important thing needed during pregnancy.

Iron and Calcium along with some minerals is also needed. Protein and fibre in diet is also important.

Legumes are great sources of folate (folic acid), fiber and many other nutrients. Folate is a vitamin that reduces the risk of neural tube defects in the growing baby.

Fruits are a good source of many vitamins and fibre. Fibre helps in reducing the problem of constipation often bothering a pregnant lady.

Green leafy vegetables are a good source of iron. Avocados contain high amounts of fibre, folate and potassium. Potassium helps to relieve leg cramps that are common in pregnant women.

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which is important for the growing fetus.

Whole eggs are a good source of protein (the white part) along with many nutrients in the yellow part. You can have two eggs daily. Chiken and fish give you lot of protein as does paneer for vegetarians.

Dairy products like milk, yoghurt should be consumed in sufficient quantity as it is good source of protein and calcium..

Dry fruits like almonds and walnut are good for pregnant women but make sure to limit your portions.

Drinking water is very important during pregnancy. It may also help prevent constipation and urinary tract infections which are comparatively more common during pregnancy.

Some foods are to be avoided during pregnancy.

Raw fish and shelled fish, Raw or undercooked meat and raw eggs must be avoided as they may lead to infection if contaminated.

Pregnant women should limit their caffeine intake to one or two cups of coffee. High caffeine intake during pregnancy is bad. Try to have decaffeinated coffee. Also reduce tea intake to two to three cups. Green tea should not be taken during pregnancy.

Pregnant women should not drink alcohol as it increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth.

In the second and third trimesters the nutrients, iron and calcium are given in tablet form also along with the good diet.