Smoking during pregnancy – consequences and dangers

How does smoking affect the unborn child during pregnancy? Is it enough to restrict the cigarettes? A video shows how extreme the difference in the womb really is!

“Since I’m pregnant, I smoke only five cigarettes a day.” Such sentences were still normal in the generation of our mothers – yes, they were even proud of their own discipline. Today, luckily, smoking has not only harmed the mother during pregnancy but also the child in her stomach.

Still, the risks are still underestimated by many women. After all, smoking is also a strong addiction that can not be overcome so easily.

We answer the most important questions about the topic.

How does smoking affect pregnancy?
In fact, smoking before pregnancy has a health impact on couples who want to have children. It worsens the quality of the sperm and can reduce the chances of the woman getting pregnant, as artificial insemination studies show.

And the tobacco smoke also has a negative effect on the unborn child. Nicotine narrows the smoker’s blood vessels, which is why the child is less well supplied with oxygen and nutrients in the stomach. And through the placenta, the poisonous substances that are inhaled through the tobacco smoke, enter directly into the bloodstream of the child. The damage that can be produced by it is also called fetal tobacco syndrome.

The influence of the smoke is also visible: The 4-D ultrasound images of Durham University, which you see in the video above, caused a stir some time ago. Clearly recognizable: Derr fetus of a woman who smokes, down the fetus of a non-smoker. While the lower child peacefully sleeps, the above looks restless, almost stressed.

What consequences does smoking have for the unborn child?

– Children of smokers are often smaller and have a lower birth weight than children of non-smokers.
– The risk for premature births/stillbirths increases, as well as the risk of Sudden Infant Deaths.
– The child has a higher risk of later developing allergies and asthma.
– The risk of malformations is increased. A 2011 study by the University of London has shown that the risk of hand and foot malformations increase by 26 percent, that of clubfoot by 28 percent, and malformations of the skull by 33 percent more frequently. The risk of a cleft lip, jaw or palate increases by 28 percent. The risk of getting a gastroschisis, a malformation of the abdominal wall with the prolapse of parts of the stomach or intestines, is even increased by 50 percent.
– According to recent studies, tobacco smoke can also lead to behavioral problems. Joachim Heinrich from the Institute of Epidemiology at the Helmholtz Zentrum München says in a 2010 release: “We were able to show that children who are exposed to tobacco smoke during pregnancy and the first years of life often develop behavioral problems during school age.” These include hyperactivity, attention deficits or peer-to-peer relationships.
How much is it allowed to smoke as a pregnant woman?
Unfortunately, there are no tolerance limits here. Every smoked cigarette is one too many. But, of course, the risks increase the more cigarettes the mother smokes.

What helps me to quit?
Statistics from 2005 showed that in Germany, 13 percent of pregnant women still smoked at the beginning of their pregnancy. Only about a quarter of them manage to stop during pregnancy. It is worthwhile at any time!

If you find it very difficult, talk to your doctor about treatment options. Also useful are smoking cessation courses that many health insurance companies offer, ask your health insurance provider for offers near you. Also recommended is the BRIGITTE non-smoking program. The book “Finally Non-Smoker” by Allen Carr has also helped many smokers to get rid of the addiction.

It is also important that the environment is involved. If the partner just keep smoking it makes it unnecessarily difficult for the pregnant woman to stay abstinent and to hold off the smoke stop. At best, he stops right away, or at least no longer smokes in the presence of the expectant mother. Finally, passive smoking harms the unborn baby.

May I start again after birth?
Again, do without cigarettes, and even after birth, for the sake of your children – especially if you are breastfeeding! Because the toxic substances of the smoke also enter the breast milk and are then absorbed by the baby during breastfeeding. Smoking also ensures that less milk is produced.

And even after breastfeeding you should use the long break and just do not start smoking anymore. So that the child will not be exposed to smoke later – and of course for your own health.

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