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Pregnancy: Please don’t smoke

January 22, 2012
By CATHY BROWNFIELD - Family Recovery Center , Salem News

The young couple was ecstatic to learn that they would be having a baby in the summertime. Everything seemed to be going along well and they were making plans. Grandmas were crocheting baby afghans, bonnets and booties and sewing quilts. Everyone in the family shared the young couple's excitement toward the arrival of the newest member of their clan.

But at eight weeks an ultrasound revealed that the baby did not have a heartbeat. A few days before Christmas, the miscarriage began, and turned into a crisis that required a race to the emergency room to stop the hemorrhaging. Less than two weeks later, a second hemorrhaging episode occurred-worse than the first one. Again the young couple rushed to the emergency room.

The young woman was terrified. There was so much blood she was afraid she was going to bleed to death. Her hemoglobin dropped to seven. And then the bleeding stopped. She stabilized. She went home, and began the process of healing. As much as she wants to have babies, she is afraid of what could happen again.

Nobody has linked her miscarriage to smoking. Arguably, there doesn't appear to be proof that smoking caused this grievous series of events. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) does offer some factual information about smoking and pregnancy.

Smoking makes it harder for a woman to become pregnant.

Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have a miscarriage.

Smoking can cause problems with the placenta-the source of the baby's food and oxygen during pregnancy. The placenta can separate from the womb too early causing bleeding which is dangerous to mother and baby.

Premature birth or low birth-weight makes it more likely the baby will be sick and hospitalized longer. Some babies may day.

Smoking during and after pregnancy is a risk factor for SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

Babies born to women who smoke are more likely to have birth defects, like cleft lip or cleft palate.

There are a number of benefits to quitting smoking, primarily for babies. Unborn babies get more oxygen, even after just one day of Mama not smoking. They have a better chance of attaining full term birth and getting to go home from the hospital with Mama. And when Mama stops smoking, she is less likely to develop heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic lung disease, or other smoke-related diseases. She's more likely to live a long life and know her grandchildren, has more energy and can breathe easier, and can feel great about doing something good for herself and her baby.

Secondhand smoke affects pregnant women and their babies as well. Pregnant women who breathe secondhand smoke are more likely to have a lower birth-weight baby. Babies who are around cigarette smoke are more likely to have ear infections and more frequent asthma attacks. They are also at greater risk of death from SIDS.

It's not easy to stop smoking. But it's worth the effort and the rewards are worthy.

For more information about smoking and pregnancy, contact Family Recovery Center at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or e-mail, FRC is funded in part by United Way of Northern Columbiana County and ODADAS (Ohio Department of Drug Addiction Services.)



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