Smoking during Pregnancy – It is possible to quit smoking!
by Dr. Antonio Chavez
At ProCare Women’s Clinic, we want your pregnancy to be as healthy as possible. A healthy pregnancy includes good diet, exercise and staying away from things that can be harmful to your body. This includes tobacco use.
Everyone knows that smoking is not healthy. Smoking can be especially dangerous during pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy exposes the unborn baby to harmful chemicals like tar and nicotine. Nicotine causes blood vessels to constrict and may limit the oxygen and nutrients that reach the baby. Smoking also exposes the baby to Carbon Monoxide, which decreases the amount of oxygen the baby receives.
Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk for preterm births. Smoking also can cause problems with the placenta, or the tissue that provides nourishment to the baby. Babies of women who smoke during pregnancy tend to be smaller than those babies born to nonsmokers.
Even being exposed to someone who smokes puts baby at risk. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “Breathing secondhand smoke – smoke from cigarettes smoked by other people nearby – can increase the risk of having a low birth weight baby by as much as 20 percent.”
Babies of women who smoke during pregnancy are also more likely to have problems with breathing or asthma, colic and childhood obesity. They also are at increased risk for dying from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
It is possible to quit smoking! If you are pregnant and smoke, tell your health care provider. Health Care Support and quitting programs are available everywhere, including the National Quit Line at 1-800-Quit-Now (1-800-784-8669). Locally you can attend FREE Smoking Independence Classes every Thursday from 6pm to 7pm at the Medical Center Hospital Cardiopulmonary Education Room. For additional information on the free classes, contact the Pulmonary Patient Educator at 432-640-2638 or 432-640-2395.