Smoking and Pregnancy
We know that smoking is bad for you – bad for your lungs, your heart, your blood vessels…but what about during pregnancy? Smoking negatively affects your baby too. Smoking or vaping constricts your blood vessels, making them smaller and harder for blood to flow through them. That blood is what feeds your growing baby, so if the blood vessels are constricted it means nutrient rich blood can’t reach the baby and your baby may not grow like it’s supposed to.
The placenta forms during the first trimester of pregnancy and takes over feeding your baby between 12-13 weeks. Your blood flows into the placenta, through the umbilical cord, and into your baby’s circulation where the baby picks up all its nutrients so that it can grow and develop. If that blood flow is restricted, that can stop your baby’s growth and make it difficult to get the nutrients it needs for the brain and other organs to develop properly. As your pregnancy progresses the placenta can even become hard and calcified, possibly even cutting off blood flow to the baby.
Quitting smoking isn’t easy, but there are resources to help you (whether you’re pregnant or not). Click on any of the links below for support and more information.
- Get Help When you Quit Smoking: https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/quit-smoking/get-help-when-you-quit-smoking/
- Find Services in Your Area: https://www2.hse.ie/quit-smoking/support-services/
- We Can Quit, Women Who Support Women to Stop Smoking: https://www.cancer.ie/cancer-information-and-support/cancer-prevention/smoking/we-can-quit
If you’re around other people who smoke – even breathing in secondhand smoke can have the same effects on your baby as if you were smoking yourself. So it’s important to try to avoid situations where you would be directly inhaling someone else’s smoke. Even keeping a distance between yourself and someone who is smoking will help. If your partner smokes, maybe they would be willing to quit for the baby too.
- Help Someone Else Quit Smoking: https://www2.hse.ie/wellbeing/quit-smoking/help-someone-else-quit-smoking.html
Vaping is a new trend that we don’t fully understand the medical ramifications of. While there is no tobacco in vapes, they still add the addictive nicotine which constricts your blood vessels and deprives your baby of nutrients, just like traditional cigarettes. The toxic chemicals used to create the flavoring in vapes may have unknown consequences as well and is currently being researched – but if the chemicals are toxic to you then they’re also toxic to your baby. If you avoid vaping, you avoid any potential issues that we may not even be aware of yet. Your baby’s health is the key here, so why take an unnecessary risk?