What to Avoid in Pregnancy
If you smoke, SO DOES YOUR BABY!!!! This is a very important fact of pregnancy. The placenta is the organ that connects the developing baby to you. It consists mostly of blood vessels and is attached to your uterus on one side and your baby on the other side by way of the umbilical cord. Its job is to allow the passage of nutrients, oxygen, vitamins, and other substances to pass from your blood to the baby allowing it to grow and develop. It also carries away your baby’s waste products to your kidneys, liver, and lungs and act for the baby until his/her organs are mature enough to do well on their own outside the womb.
Cigarette smoke contains more than 2,500 chemicals. It is not known or certain which one of these chemicals are harmful to a developing baby. However, both nicotine and carbon monoxide (the same gas released from a car’s exhaust) are believed to play a role in causing bad pregnancy outcomes. These chemicals are directly taken from your lungs, to your blood to your baby’s blood. Imagine how these chemicals affect the fragile tissues of developing baby.
Here are some known complications from smoking during pregnancy:
- Low birth weight baby: low birth weight can be caused by prematurity (birth prior to 37 weeks), poor growth, or a combination of both. Prematurity is increased in pregnancy smokers and is the number one cause of neonatal death and chronic illness in babies. Problems such as cerebral palsy, life- long lung, kidney or other problems.
- Placenta previa: low lying placenta that covers part or all of the opening to the uterus. Placenta previa blocks the exit of the baby from the uterus causing the baby and or mother to bleed.
- Placental abruption: the placenta tears away from the uterus causing the mother and baby to bleed.
- Stillbirth: the baby dies in the womb before birth.
- Premature rupture of membranes: the water breaks before 36 weeks and is associated with low birth weight babies and increased preterm labor and delivery.
The effects smoking has on your baby continue once you are home. Children exposed to smoke in the home have higher levels of lung problems such as asthma, pneumonia, or bronchitis. They also suffer more ear infections than children not exposed to smoking.
Our office can provide additional information to help you stop smoking while you are pregnant. E-Cigarettes are not an alternative to smoking and are just as harmful as smoking tobacco products.
There is no amount of alcohol or street drugs that are known to be safe during pregnancy and therefore should be avoided. Drinking alcohol or using drugs can cause birth defects, mental retardation and abnormal brain development.