As we know, tobacco consumption is one of the main factors behind the health problems and complications that can occur during pregnancy. Logical, since tobacco contains several substances harmful to health: nicotine, tar and carbon monoxide
If we take a closer look at nicotine, the cause of cigarette addiction, it produces an effect on the vessels of the uterus, which contract and, therefore, decrease blood flow to the fetus. As for carbon monoxide, it decreases the supply of oxygen in the blood and crosses the barrier of the placenta, thus slowing down the growth of the fetus: it is therefore particularly dangerous for pregnant women. Finally, tar is carcinogenic and leaves deposits in the lungs: the risks to the fetus are considerable.
What happens when you smoke before and after pregnancy?
Smoking causes a decline in fertility in men, but also in women. First of all, because the production of estrogens decreases and the menstrual cycle is less stable, thus being accompanied by a decrease in the quality of the eggs. Then, because the endometrium can be affected and prevent the embryo from implanting there correctly. Smoking can also cause premature menopause.
When a pregnant woman smokes, she is more vulnerable and at increased risk of miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy. If she smokes more than a pack a day, she has a high chance of suffering from the placenta ‘ preview or ‘abrupt’, two potentially serious conditions resulting in poor development or premature abruption of the placenta. Smoking during pregnancy can also lead to early delivery, not to mention the risk of birth defects.
When the baby is born, its weight is on average lower than that of babies born to non-smoking mothers and the risk of death during the first year of life is higher. Newborns exposed to smoking during pregnancy may suffer from microcephaly (low head circumference), asthma or even recurrent ear infections. Growing up, the child is likely to suffer from physiological or mental disorders, hyperactivity, diabetes or obesity.
Cigarettes are highly addictive and, like all addictions, it is difficult to do without. But it is not impossible: the important thing is consistency and determination. For some women, expecting a baby is enough to stop smoking, but for others, cigarettes are such a powerful stress reliever that they continue despite all the
recommendations. Unfortunately, there are many preconceived ideas about smoking during pregnancy: no consequences for fertility or the healthy development of the baby, possibility of smoking “a little”… In summary, there is a multitude of reasons for avoiding cigarettes in being pregnant and, good news, quitting smoking at the start of pregnancy can significantly reduce the risks mentioned above
And the entourage in all this? Of course, passive smoking is also very harmful for the developing fetus. The particles contained in the smoke are extremely volatile: if the companion smokes a cigarette on the balcony, for example, the window must be closed. Motivating the future dad to quit smoking during pregnancy, at the same time as the future mother, is a very good thing: together, the chances of success are multiplied!