Is Smoking Harmful During Pregnancy?

Smoking while pregnant has serious consequences for both the expectant mother and the baby to be born, and many of these will deeply upset the expectant mother if they happen. Below you can find in-depth information on the subject.

Is smoking harmful during pregnancy?

Smoking is not recommended during pregnancy. Smoking while pregnant puts both you and your unborn baby at risk. Cigarettes contain dangerous chemicals such as nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar. Smoking significantly increases the risk of pregnancy complications, some of which can be fatal to the mother or baby. Learn more below about the risks of smoking while pregnant.

Is smoking harmful for those who want to get pregnant?

If you smoke and want to get pregnant, quitting the habit should be your priority. Smoking can prevent you from getting pregnant in the first place. Even in the first trimester, smoking affects the health of your unborn baby. According to the American Reproductive Association, smokers, regardless of male or female, are nearly twice as likely to experience fertility problems as non-smokers.

Passive smoking is also very harmful to the uterus. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that passive smokers are at risk for cancer, as are smokers.

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What are the harms of smoking during pregnancy?

The harms of smoking while pregnant are listed below:

1- Risk of miscarriage or stillbirth

An unexpected pregnancy loss is a tragic event at any stage. Miscarriages usually occur in the first trimester of pregnancy. In rare cases, it can also occur after 20 weeks of pregnancy. This is called stillbirth.

Smoking during pregnancy increases the chances of both miscarriage and stillbirth , according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Dangerous chemicals in cigarettes are often responsible for this condition.

Other complications of smoking can lead to problems with the placenta or slow fetal development. These problems can also cause miscarriage or stillbirth.

2- Ectopic pregnancy

In an article published in the journal PLoS One ; It is emphasized that nicotine can cause contractions in the fallopian tubes. These contractions can be quite dangerous for the embryo. One possible consequence of this is an ectopic pregnancy (ectopic pregnancy). This happens when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, in the fallopian tube, or in the abdomen. In this case, the embryo must be removed to avoid life-threatening complications for the mother.

3- Placental abruption

The placenta is the “lifeline” structure formed during pregnancy to provide nutrients and oxygen to the fetus. Smoking during pregnancy is an important risk factor for various complications associated with the placenta. One such problem is placental abruption. This is a condition where the placenta separates from the uterus before birth. An abnormality of the placenta can cause severe bleeding and threaten the life of both the mother and the baby. There is no surgery or treatment to prevent this and requires immediate medical attention.

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4- Placenta previa

Smoking during pregnancy is also a risk factor for placenta previa. During pregnancy, the placenta normally grows in the uterus towards the top of the uterus. This leaves the cervix open for delivery. Placenta previa is when the placenta stays in the lower part of the uterus, partially or completely covering the cervix. The placenta often ruptures, causing excessive bleeding, and the baby is deprived of vital nutrients and oxygen.

5- Premature birth

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , smoking during pregnancy can cause premature birth. In such a case, the baby is born much earlier than it should be. There are numerous health risks associated with preterm birth. These may include:

  • Visual and hearing disorders
  • mental disability
  • learning and behavior problems
  • Complications that can result in death

6- Low birth weight

Smoking during pregnancy can also cause babies to be born with low birth weight. It’s not just about the birth of a small baby. Low birth weight can also lead to other health problems and disabilities. Advances in science have prevented infant mortality from low birth weight, but it is still a serious condition that can result in:

  • Developmental delay
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Hearing or vision disturbances

In extreme cases, low birth weight can even cause the death of the baby.

According to the American Cancer Society, women who do not want to give birth with low birth weight should definitely quit smoking. Even women who quit smoking during pregnancy have a lower risk of giving birth to a low-birth-weight baby than smokers.

7- Birth defects

Smoking during pregnancy increases your baby’s risk of being born with birth defects. The most common types of problems are congenital heart defects and problems with the structure of the heart. Other health problems related to smoking while pregnant are cleft lip and cleft palate.

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The painful facts about smoking during pregnancy

Many pregnant women still smoke despite knowing the risks this bad habit poses for themselves and their babies. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that one-third of pregnant women who smoke still smoke even during the last trimester of pregnancy.

The only real way to avoid smoking-related pregnancy complications is to quit smoking.

What you can do to quit smoking

If you want to become pregnant, or if you are pregnant and want to quit smoking, you can take steps such as:

  • You can ask your family doctor to refer you to the smoking cessation outpatient clinic.
  • You can call the Alo 171 smoking cessation hotline and ask for help.
  • You can visit birakDİR.org website.

Remember, to quit smoking, you must first be determined and stand behind this decision.

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