Pregnancy and smoking: understanding the risks and bursting myths

The fact that pregnancy and smoking do not get along is out there. While the number of women who smoke is growing, its threats are still not understood as well. There are women who do not know when to quit smoking if in case they plan to start their families. The chemicals in cigarettes not only impact your health but are also detrimental to your unborn baby’s health.

Risks in conceiving while smoking

The toxins that come with smoking do not get flushed from body at once. A proper detoxification is required when planning a baby. Also, it impacts the fertility of both men and women equally. Nicotine and carbon monoxide present on cigarettes could be fatal. Experts believe that those who want to get pregnancy should quit smoking at least four months before trying to conceive.

In fact, quitting in first trimester is still helpful than smoking through the pregnancy. The chemicals present in cigarettes are potential enough to damage the egg of women and in men, their sperm count gets affected. However, if you are a habitual smoker, it will take you at least one year to reverse its effects.

Smoking can cut the oxygen supply to the baby leading to complications in pregnancy. Miscarriage, still born babies, premature births and babies born with brain, visual ad hearing impairment defects are all result of smoking before or during pregnancy. Smoking can impact the placenta and foetus growth leading to tragic termination of pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy

Experts say that smoking before or around conceiving time can make the fallopian tubes to contract. This makes it difficult for the embryo to pass through the fallopian tube. As a result, at times, the fertilised egg gets planted outside uterus. This type of pregnancy can be life-threatening for the mother. And thus, unfortunately, the embryo then has to be removed to save mother’s life.

Myths vs facts

Myth: Passive smoking is fine

Fact: No, it’s not. The smoke that goes in whether with cigarette or without is equally harmful. Few women find it fine to be around people who smoke or even their partners. However, it’s impacting you and your unborn baby the same way as if you smoke. In fact, experts say that staying in environment which has polluted and toxic air can harm then imagine being a passive smoker. Even passive smoking can make you take longer time to get pregnant.

Myth: If I can get pregnant while smoking, the pregnancy will be fine too

Fact: That’s not true. Smoking does impact fertility, but it doesn’t wipe out chances all together. Therefore, getting pregnant while smoking shouldn’t come across as a complete surprise. However, continuing it when pregnant does affect the baby. Quitting it at any stage is fine rather than continuing. It means more oxygen for your baby which is required for proper development.


Breastfeeding and smoking

It’s important to be smoke-free if you are a feeding mother. However, if you get back to smoking soon after your delivery doesn’t mean you shouldn’t breastfeed your baby. Breast milk is important to build child’s immunity against diseases and infections. Don’t keep your child devoid of it. If in case you start smoking during the breastfeed phase, make sure you do not smoke while doing it. Make sure there’s a long gap between your last smoke and baby’s breastfeed time. Also, it’s important to stay in a healthy environment. If you do not smoke but your partner does, make sure the room that you are in with your baby has clean air and is smoke-free.

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