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Impact of Smoking on Pregnant Women

Impact of Smoking on Pregnant Women

Pregnancy for some women can be a beautiful experience and for others a really trying period as their bodies go through different stages of change. While certain complications that arise during pregnancy isn’t caused by the mother, certain high health risk behaviours can affect the state of the child when it is born. Pregnancy is a really sensitive period in a woman’s life and as such, she needs the optimum healthcare she can get as well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle for herself and child.

Smoking generally pose a huge health risk for people as we have seen overtime that it can lead to lung cancer, heart disease, low immune system, diabetes and a many more problems. For the pregnant woman it can cause the following:

  • Miscarriage: which is the loss of fetus before 20th week of pregnancy.
  • Stillbirth: Stillbirth is the loss of a baby after 20weeks of pregnancy and can often be used as a term for miscarriage but they differ according to when the loss of the child occurs.
  • Ectopic pregnancy: this occurs when the fertilized egg implant outside of the uterus and it can be life threatening. Usually pregnancies develop in the uterus after traveling though the fallopian tube but in the case of ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized eggs attaches somewhere in the body like the abdomen. 
  • Placenta abruption: While it is uncommon, it is however a serious pregnancy complication. In this situation, the placenta partly or completely detaches from the uterus before delivery and can deprive the baby of oxygen and nutrients and possibly lead to stillbirth.
  • Placenta Previa: This occur when the placenta implants at the opening of the cervix thereby covering the opening in the cervix which can lead to severe bleeding before or during delivery.
  • Preterm birth: When babies are born prematurely usually around 37th week or before the full development which is around 40-44 week, the birth is termed ‘Preterm’. Premature babies often have complicated medical problems ranging from lungs to low birthweight etc. because they have not been fully developed and must be confined to the hospital for special care for a period of time.
  • Low Birth weight: Usually, babies are expected to weight between 2.5kg – 4.5kg when they are born. Any birth weighing below 2.5kg is concluded as a low birth weight and is caused by factors such are preterm birth. Infants born too early have an increased risk of serious health problems.
  • Birth defects: An aberration in a child development during pregnancy can result in birth defects. Birth defects are formative changes present at the birth that affects almost or any part of the body like heart, brain, foot etc. and may affect the way the body, looks or functions. They often vary from mild to severe. 

However, it has been observed that some women still do not quit smoking during pregnancy and they end up having sever complications that could have been avoided. Fortunately, with more healthcare enlightenment, quite a number of women are recognizing the need to abandon health risk habits so they can have healthy babies and safe deliveries.

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