Smoking can affect the health of your baby before, during and after your pregnancy. Effects of smoking cigarettes while pregnant can cause negative health affects for you and is a contributor to ectopic pregnancies, stillborn, miscarriages and birth defects. The side effects that are prevalent with smoking tobacco are present in marijuana smoke. If you smoke either tobacco or marijuana and you’re pregnant or considering pregnancy you need to do all that you can to quit.
Effects of Smoking on You When Pregnant *
Smokers may find that it is more difficult to become pregnant than those who don’t smoke and women who are smokers are more likely to have the following issues with pregnancies. Not to say that these issues don’t occur in women who don’t smoke, they have been found to be more prevalent in women who do smoke. There have been studies that suggest a relationship between tobacco use and miscarriages.
Cigarette smoke produces carbon monoxide that can rob your blood of oxygen. A baby’s oxygen supply comes from your blood so if the oxygen supply is not rich enough your baby will not get enough oxygen, stunting its development. Smoking cigarettes can also cause stillbirth, miscarriages, and ectopic pregnancies, which can be very dangerous to the mother. Cigarettes are also filled with chemical that can harm your unborn child.
Effects of Smoking on Your Baby When Pregnant *
The effects of smoking while pregnant include reduced oxygen in your blood, which mean less oxygen for the baby and the nicotine and the chemicals that are in tobacco products may have an effect on your baby’s brain, lungs and heart. Babies that are born to women who are smokers are more likely to weigh less than they should throughout the pregnancy. Birth weights that are less than 5.5 pounds indicate that a baby is premature and babies of smokers are more likely to be born premature than those of non-smokers.
If the birth is too premature then the child may not live without drastic medical intervention because babies that are born early can have numerous health issues. Immediate breathing problems that can last into childhood and problems feeding and developmental delays are common in premature babies. A child that is born prematurely also has a greater chance of developing cerebral palsy; hearing problems and problems with their eyesight are health issues that can arise from premature births.
Side effects of smoking while pregnant can also lead to birth defects for your baby. These can include cleft lip or palate and they are more likely to have learning problems, disabilities that can affect them throughout their lifetimes and intellectual disabilities that can affect their ability to learn, develop and interact at the same levels of their peers.
Effects of Smoking Marijuana While Pregnant *
Although there is less research concerning the use of marijuana, the side effects of smoking weed while pregnant share the two things that make smoking cigarettes bad for you and your baby. The effects of smoking weed while pregnant increases the level of carbon monoxide in your blood while reducing its level of oxygen, effectively starving your baby of oxygen. This alone is a factor in the baby’s health. The other issues are the tar that enters your lungs when smoking weed, and the THC and other chemicals from marijuana that can cross the placenta and enter the baby’s blood stream.
Exposure to THC, early in life, may have an effect on the development of your baby’s brain. Even low amounts of THC late in a pregnancy may have long reaching effects on the brain and behavior of children that have had exposure to the chemical while in utero. Babies that have been born to women who smoke marijuana have been found to respond differently to visual stimuli, they tend to tremble more and may have a high-pitched cry that could indicate that there are problems with their neurological development.
It has been determined that children who are exposed to marijuana prenatally may have problem solving skills, trouble paying attention and memory problems. However, more research is necessary to disentangle other factors in the effect of marijuana of a child’s development. Disentangling other factors that can cause the same issues, such as nutritional factors of the mother and child, environmental factors, nurturing and neglect of the child and the use of other drugs by the mother during pregnancy requires more research to be fully understood.
However, it remains that the two factors first mentioned are verifiably true and a lack of oxygen for the baby and chemicals in its blood are enough reason for you to quit smoking while you are pregnant. If you are having trouble quitting on your own, seek medical help. Quitting can mean the difference between a healthy you and your baby, or not.
How to Quit Smoking if You Are Pregnant *
First, you have to want to quit and hopefully the concern for your unborn child will be greater than your addiction. However, the addictiveness of tobacco is as powerful as that of heroin and you may need more help than just your will power to quit smoking. There is help if you want to quit and a number of ways for you to find it.
- Pick a day to start
- Formulate a plan
- Get back up. Let your family and friends know what you are doing so that they can support your efforts.
- Talk to your physician. They may be able to help you with alternatives such as nicotine patches, nicotine gum or another form of smoking cessation aid.
- Behavioral modification can also help you quit smoking with the support of a trained therapist in either an individual or group setting.
- Hypnosis has also been effective for many people who wish to quit smoking but like any method, that you use to quit you must have the desire to quit.
- Natural remedies used to quit smoking include munching on raw fruits and vegetables, to satisfy the oral cravings left by smoking cessation. Fresh foods also add vitamins and minerals to your diet and can make cigarettes taste bad, which is not a bad thing.
- Fava beans are one of the best dietary sources of I-dopa, which converts to dopamine in the brain. This may alleviate your nicotine or marijuana cravings by helping you with the depression that is common when people quit smoking. An expensive drug that is used for smoking cessation, bupropion is a dopamine-enhancer. Fava beans may be safer than and as effective as bupropion for those who wish to quit smoking.
For Your Health and that of Your Baby, Quit Smoking! *
The life of a child is precious and they have enough problems without our lifestyles and habits contributing to any issues they might have. If you are considering becoming pregnant, are pregnant or have recently had a child and still smoke, quit! It will be the best thing that you have ever done for yourself and your child. Remember, second hand smoke in a child’s environment once they are born is also bad for the health of your child. Show your baby your love and be a quitter today!