Tobacco industry entices women to smoke by using false images of modern women, slimness, sophistication and sexuality. In reality, smoking causes diseases and death.
Smoking not only causes lung cancer, but it has a lot of adverse effects on reproductive health. Starting from difficulty in conceiving to malformations in the baby, smoking affects many aspects of the reproductive health.
Effect Of Smoking On Women
1 Women who smoke are at an increased risk of infertility.
2 Studies have shown that smoking makes it more difficult for women to become pregnant.
3 Smoking during pregnancy can cause:
• Ectopic pregnancy
• Placental abruption
• Placenta previa
• PPROM – Preterm Prelabour Rupture of Membrane
• Increased risk of miscarriage, small babies and premature birth.
4 Babies of mothers, who smoke during pregnancy, have lower birth weights. Low birth weight is a leading cause of neonatal deaths.
Effect Of Smoking On Developing Babies
Tobacco and cigarette smoke contain about 4,000 chemicals. Researchers don’t fully understand how the toxic mixture may cause birth defects but some facts can be understood.
1. Nicotine causes constriction in,the blood vessels of the umbilical cord and uterus. Due to this, the amount of oxygen available to the foetus is reduced.
2. Tobacco and cigarette smoke have high levels of carbon monoxide. This binds more strongly to haemoglobin. As haemoglobin is already occupied with carbon monoxide, its capacity to carry oxygen decreases. The baby chokes due to lack of oxygen.
Effect Of Smoking After Birth
Nicotine is found in breast milk of mothers who smoke. Breastfeeding mothers should avoid smoking as they are passing the bad effects of nicotine to the newborn.
Smoking by the mother can cause sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) due to second-hand smoke. Compared with unexposed infants, babies exposed to smoke after birth. are twice at risk for SIDS. When mothers smoke both before and after birth, their babies are three to four times more at risk to suffer from these problems.
What Should Be Done
1 Smoking though significant is a preventable risk factor
• If a woman plans to conceive a child in the near future, quitting is essential. Quitting in the first trimester can reduce many complications to the unborn baby.
• Studies suggest that infants of women, who stopped smoking by the first trimester have weight and body measurements comparable with those of non-smokers’ infants.