Effect of Smoking on Pregnancy

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A pregnant woman's life is no longer her own. She carries an additional responsibility in the form of the unborn child that will grow for  nine months in her womb. She will share with it whatever she eats, drinks, inhales or thinks. It is an onus on her to give her child the very best  right from the nascent stage of its life. This should sound as a warning to all those mothers who indulge in smoking and alcohol abuse.

Mother's smoking and the risk to her child.
Smoking can pose major health risks not just to the health of the mother but also to the health of the unborn child. When a mother smokes, nicotine and carbon monoxide are passed to her unborn child through the placenta tissue that forms the life-link between the two. Even after the child is born, the mother continues to pass on nicotine in her body to her child through her breast milk; the child? only food during its first few months.

Consequences of smoking for the child.
Nicotine can have very profound effects on the health of the unborn child. Smoking, both controlled and uncontrolled, during pregnancy can instigate miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm delivery, and low birth weight. The mother faces the risk of developing placental problems like placenta previa and placental abruption. This increases bleeding and the risks to the mother and her unborn child?s life. Children of smoking mothers run the risk of being born with serious health problems and chronic life-long disabilities like asthma, cerebral palsy and mental retardation. They may also have poor growth, increased colds,coughs and respiratory problems and learning disabilities.

Is it advisable to quit smoking during pregnancy?
A woman ideally should stop smoking before she decides to conceive a baby. She will be able to cope immediately with the withdrawal symptons. For  women who are already pregnant, a complete withdrawal is strictly not advisable. The effects of such a sudden withdrawal would be more pronounced and profound for both the mother and her unborn child. However, this doesn't mean that it is a completely hopeless situation for them. They can counter these withdrawal symptoms if they have a good support system in place. A desire to quit, experiences of past efforts at quitting, a supportive husband and family, and most importantly, the awareness of a pending arrival of a beautiful young child should be some sources of motivation for them.