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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.