Smoking during pregnancy is never a good idea. In fact, a new study from Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) says that “maternal smoking during pregnancy is an established risk factor for sudden unexpected infant death (SUID).” Researchers analyzed over 20 million births, including 19,000 unexpected baby deaths. They concluded that just one cigarette a day during pregnancy can increase the chance of SUID.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) smoking has the following negative effects on pregnancies:
- Increased difficulty for women to become pregnant
- Increased risk for women of never becoming pregnant
- Tissue damage to an unborn baby, particularly in the lung and brain
- Increased likelihood of being born with a birth defect
- Suggested relationship between smoking and miscarriage
- Carbon monoxide from tobacco can deprive developing babies of oxygen
- Other chemicals from tobacco can harm unborn babies
The CDC also says that smoking during pregnancy (and after pregnancy) and secondhand smoke can have the following negative effects on babies:
- Increased likelihood of preterm delivery
- A one in five chance of being born with low birth weight
- Increased chance of SIDS from secondhand smoke exposure
- Babies born with weaker lungs, leading to long-term health problems
But what about e-cigarettes? Are e-cigarettes safer than regular cigarettes during pregnancy? The CDC says that e-cigarette use during pregnancy is still unsafe. E-cigarettes still contain nicotine which can damage a baby’s developing brain and lungs. Also, they say that, “there is not enough evidence to know whether or not e-cigarettes help people to quit smoking.”
If you’re trying to conceive, definitely think about quitting. If you’re pregnant and have not been able to kick the habit, talk to your healthcare provide about approved medications to help quit smoking. These options improve after your baby is born. Counseling and support groups are also an option.
To help individuals quit smoking, St. Peter’s Health Partners offers the award-winning The Butt Stops Here program. In 2019, The Butt Stops Here will be offered in Albany, Troy, Clifton Park, and Rensselaer. Visit their page on classes and events for more information.