Copyright 2006 Adam Waxler
The sad fact is cigarette smoking is part of many of our lives, regardless of whether we smoke or not. Unfortunately, this includes unborn babies as well.
Surveys show that many mothers still smoke cigarettes during their pregnancy. Most likely these women are unaware of how harmful cigarette smoking truly is on their unborn baby and are unaware that smoking cigarettes during pregnancy is one of the major causes of infant deaths in the society today.
Basically, cigarette smoke alone is full of chemicals, some studies even state it has more than 2,500 chemicals. Some chemicals like tar, carbon monoxide, and nicotine are considered the most dangerous substance for the fetus. It has long been proven how these chemicals can greatly affect the development of the fetus inside the mother’s womb.
First of all, mothers who smoke while pregnant run a risk of ectopic pregnancy. This is especially viable when the mother is a heavy smoker during the first trimester of her pregnancy.
Ectopic pregnancy refers to the state wherein the embryo is embedded outside the uterus, which is contrary to what normal pregnancy should be. Usually, it is embedded in the fallopian tube. In this manner, the fetus has to be removed because this kind of pregnancy will never survive. This fetus will never survive outside of the uterus where a fetus gets all the nourishment and protection that it needs. Prolonging this condition will only risk the mother’s life.
Also, smoking cigarettes during pregnancy increases the probability that the mother will develop complications in the placenta. Reports show that placental problems are actually happening in about 1% of pregnancies. The most common problem is “placenta previa” where the placenta is connected very low in the uterus and is almost at the cervix.
Another problem with smoking cigarettes during pregnancy is the deterioration of fetal growth. The fact is cigarette smoking during pregnancy results in low infant birth weight. For many years now reports have shown that there have been significant differences between babies with mothers who smoked cigarettes during pregnancy and those who have non-cigarette smoking mothers.
Unfortunately, greater risks are imposed on babies who weigh less than the normal babies. They may acquire certain diseases like cerebral palsy, mental retardation, or worse – death.
There are also reports on how cigarette smoking during pregnancy increases the probabilities of birth defects such as cleft lip and cleft palate.
Moreover, babies born with mothers who are cigarette smokers have higher incidences of sudden infant death syndrome. If ever these infants survive, they may still incur diseases like asthma, behavioral problems, or learning disabilities.
Then there are the post-pregnancy woes…
For babies with mothers who smoke regularly, problems still lurk within their environment. This is especially true to mothers who smoke even when they are breastfeeding their babies.
Studies have revealed that nicotine can be passed on to the baby through breastfeeding. There have been experiments that prove the presence of nicotine in the babies system through urine testing. It later showed that there is a higher percentage of nicotine found on babies who breastfeed to cigarette smoking mothers.
Most experts contend that the problem lies within the mother’s urge to get back to smoking cigarettes right after she gives birth.
Unfortunately, when the mother continues to smoke during the formative years of her child life, chances are she is already shaping a child that will most likely be a cigarette smoker themselves.
So, what’s the point here? The fact that the mother does not care for her own health is one thing. But the fact that she puts greater risk on her baby because of her vice is another thing.
Babies should be given the right to live a decent, normal, and healthy life. So, for the “moms-to-be” out there, please keep in mind that your babies should not be forced to suffer from the long range dangers associated with cigarette smoking. Let’s take care of them by not smoking cigarettes.