Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. Every cigarette contains 4,000 chemicals which can have negative affects during pregnancy and after birth.
Smoking negatively affects fertility and ease of conception in both men and women, and can affect process of developing inside the womb. Research suggests that nicotine reduces fertility in females by reducing the production of pregnancy hormones, and impeding the ease with which an egg travels through the Fallopian tubes to the womb. In males, the sperm count is reduced by 15% in smokers compared to non-smokers. Smoking reduces the amount of semen, affects the shape of sperm and their ability to move around, and causes erection problems as blood flow to the penis is reduced.
The foetus in the womb is dependent on nutrients and oxygen from the mother, this comes from the placenta and umbilical cord. This means all of the toxins in tobacco smoke pass through the placenta, carbon monoxide replaces some of the oxygen in the mother’s blood and so in turn the unborn child’s blood, which causes a raised heartbeat, as the child struggles to breathe. Changes to the placenta also affects the babies’ growth rate. Babies born to mothers that smoke are more likely to be premature and have a low birth weight and the more cigarettes smoked the lower the weight. In addition to a lower birth weight a baby born to a smoker will have poorer lung function, smaller major organs and are twice as likely to die from cot death.
Smoking during pregnancy can cause:
- A miscarriage
- Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy growing outside of the womb)
- The baby to have birth defects
- Premature birth
- The baby to have a low birth weight
- Sudden infant death syndrome or cot death
And cause the following long-term effects:
- Chest and ear infections
- Psychological problems in childhood such as attention and hyperactivity issues and bad behaviour
- Bad performance at school
But the good news is that it is never too late to stop smoking. Every cigarette you decide not to smoke will improve your health and that of your baby.
You are three times more likely to stop smoking if you get help but pregnant ladies that seek support from health professionals will double their likelihood of stopping for good.
One Small Step provides services that can help you stop smoking. So, what are you waiting for check out the website today or give us a call on 01392 908 139.