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Smoking and pregnancy do not mix. Even before you get the + sign, smoking makes it harder for a man and woman to conceive. But more importantly, smoking puts your baby’s health in harm’s way. While pregnant, a mom and her baby are intimately connected. What she breathes, eats, and feels is what the baby breathes, eats, and feels. Generally, the healthier the mom, the greater the chance of having a healthy baby.
The National Cancer Institute says a cigarette has more than 7,000 chemicals and 69 of these are actually cancer causing. When a mother smokes, these chemicals pass into her lungs and then into her blood, which is shared with her baby. So when a mom is smoking, what is her baby doing?
One of the chemicals found in smoke is carbon monoxide, a gas that ultimately blocks oxygen from being carried in the blood to the baby. This slows the baby’s growth, and can cause brain, heart and lung defects. Nicotine, another well- known chemical in cigarettes causes blood vessels to shrink, further reducing the blood and oxygen to the baby. Smoking increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight, miscarriage, and having a stillborn baby. These problems can lead to lifelong physical and mental disabilities for the child.
The CDC says that quitting smoking will help you feel better and provide a healthier environment for your baby.
When you stop smoking:
Your baby will get more oxygen, even after just one day of not smoking.
There is less risk that your baby will be born too early.
There is a better chance that your baby will come home from the hospital with you.
You will be less likely to develop heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic lung disease, and other smoke-related diseases.
You will be more likely to live to know your grandchildren.
You will have more energy and breathe more easily.
You will have more money that you can spend on other things.
Your clothes, hair, and home will smell better.
Your food will taste better.
You will feel good about what you have done for yourself and your baby.
A 5-Day Plan to Stop Smoking is being held at the Grundy County Housing Authority beginning April 15 at 6:00 p.m.. We will meet nightly and go through this quitting process together! Register on facebook at Grundy County Health Council or call Tonya Garner at 931-967-3826 x111. Make the decision to do it today for you and your family.
Contributing to this article were Ben Almassi and Linnea Carner, University of the South students.