Tobacco Use During Pregnancy

Posted March 6, 2015 by admin

Tobacco use is one of the most dangerous activities you can do while pregnant. Smoking while pregnant can cause a wide range of health problems for a fetus, including birth defects, premature birth, and even the death of your infant. Smoking after your pregnancy can be similarly destructive for an infant, resulting in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). While the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, smoking is one of the risk factors associated with SIDS. Doctors, of course, must advise patients of these issues, but it is not always easy to do so.

Pregnant Woman Smoking

Smoking and Women’s Health

The effect that smoking has on everybody’s health is well-documented, and the same holds true for women’s health while they are pregnant. First, smoking makes it harder for a woman to even become pregnant, and if they are pregnant, there is an increased likelihood for a miscarriage.

Of course, there are practical benefits as well. Doctors should advise patients that they will save money, their clothes will smell better, and they will be healthier. All the advice in the world, however, doesn’t trump a good support group. Doctors should encourage patients to rally around their support group, family, and loved ones. It is also helpful if a doctor helps smoking patients recognize some of the challenges they might face, so they will be better prepared to face them.

Smoking and Infant Health

Babies that are born to smoking mothers, quite simply, are more likely to suffer from defects. Cleft lips and cleft palates are more common, as well as premature birth, SIDS, and being born sick. 

As such, quitting smoking for the sake of the baby is highly advised. Doctors can help by emphasizing how important it is for mothers to quit for the sake of their babies’ health.

Helping Patients Quit

A great way for a woman to quit smoking is to lean on her partner if they will be raising the child together. A NIH study found that pregnant mothers reduced the use of tobacco and alcohol when they had a partner providing emotional support. An emotional support system can be crucial when curbing an addictive activity. Practitioners might want to advise patients to attend seminars highlighting some more ways to quit. A seminar focused on pregnancy will highlight even more of the risks and dangers inherent to smoking, increasing the desire to avoid it. As medical professionals, you should also talk with patients and explore the use of over-the-counter medications or patches that might help them curb the problem quickly and reliably.