If this article were like most I've found, I would be saying "You should quit smoking. THE END." However we all know that in some cases that isn't going to happen. So first let's discuss what will happen to baby when mom smokes according to the Surgeon General:
- Smoking causes blood vessels to constrict. This includes blood vessels in the umbilical cord, which provides oxygen and nutrients to the baby. The result is usually an underweight newborn. This is bad because babies born with less fat have a more difficult time regulating their temperature. Maintaining adequate body heat is essential to the health of a baby. Low birth weight is a leading cause of death for babies born in the United States.
- Decreased oxygen and nutrients to baby during development could result in devastating birth defects or possibly learning disabilities later in life.
- Babies of moms who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to die of SIDS.
- Babies of moms who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to be born prematurely.
- Babies of moms who smoke are more likely to have decreased lung function. Decreased lung function would lead to less oxygen getting to babies brain and other organs.
- Daughters of mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to begin smoking later in life, even if mom quits.
Now then. I can hear you sitting there saying "Well So-and-So smoked during her pregnancy and her baby was fine." That very well may be true. Maybe that baby was lucky. However are there learning difficulties? Behavior problems? Was baby sick a lot? If so, those problems could be due to mom's cigarette use during pregnancy.
However, even after having all this information, you simply feel that you cannot quit smoking. Ok. Let's deal with that.
- Decrease your smoking by at least half. If you have a hard time with this try chewing nicotine gum at times. Nicotine isn't good for baby, but it's better than all the other poisons baby's getting from the cigarette. (never wear a nicotine patch and smoke, this will cause heart problems)
- Start smoking outside. This decreases the amount of smoke in your home in preparation for when baby comes home, and probably will automatically decrease the amount you smoke.
- Even if you smoke outside, consider wearing an over shirt while smoking to decrease the amount of smoke in your clothing.
- If you are breastfeeding, the baby will get nicotine and other poisons through the breast milk. HOWEVER. The benefits to breastfeeding outweigh the risks here. Don't smoke an hour before feeding the baby or pumping, this will decrease the amount of contaminants in the breast milk.
- Be aware that quitting smoking at any point during pregnancy will decrease risks for your baby.