Smoking pregnant: what are the risks for the baby?

Fumer enceinte : quels risques pour le bébé ?

Smoking pregnant is inhaling more than 4,000 toxic substances per cigarette, which create risks for the course of pregnancy and the health of the future baby. But when you’re really addicted, quitting is not that easy. Advice.

The pregnant women know it well, smoking during pregnancy has repercussions on the health of the future baby. And the more we smoke, the greater the effects. Better to quit smoking completely during pregnancy. What Happens When You Smoke? With each puff of cigarette, you inhale more than 4,000 toxic substances. Carbon monoxide and nicotine in particular pass the feto-placental barrier. The baby is then less well oxygenated. The more the mother smokes, the lower the oxygenation of the fetus and the more the effects are harmful for its development. This poor oxygenation is due to carbon monoxide, but not only. Nicotine impairs the circulation of blood in the arteries of the placenta and in the umbilical artery because of its vasoconstrictor effect. What are the risks of tobacco on pregnancy, and how to achieve quit smoking while expecting a baby ? Advice.

Nicotine passes into the placenta and is absorbed by the fetus, it is the passive smoking in utero. Carbon monoxide from cigarette smoke passes through the blood of the fetus and can partially deprive it of oxygen.

It is recommended toquit smoking early in pregnancy. You can also decide to put out your last cigarette when you want to conceive a child. Especially since smoking also affects fertility. Thus, a woman who quits smoking is more likely to become pregnant in the months that follow. When you stop smoking, the benefits are obvious on all fronts: less risk of miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, premature births, stunted growth, etc. If the ideal is toquit smoking before becoming pregnant, know that it is never too late. Quitting cigarettes is always beneficial at any time during pregnancy, both for the mother and the fetus.

Tobacco acts on baby’s growth

The fetus needs oxygen to develop properly. Ubad oxygenation acts on its growth, and can reduce birth weight up to 300 grams, decrease its size as well as its cranial perimeter. The brain, lungs, heart and vessels are affected as a result of impaired oxygenation. A team from La Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital in Paris observed in particular that even “low” consumption of tobacco during pregnancy reduces the baby’s weight at birth. According to’study published in the specialized journal Nicotine and Tobacco Research, birth weight decreases as the mother’s tobacco use during pregnancy increases. To arrive at this result, French researchers were interested in 371 smoking pregnant women. As a result, the children of women who abstained from smoking pregnant weighed an average of 3.381 kg at birth. Women who smoked between one and four cigarettes a day during their pregnancy gave birth to babies who weighed 228 g less on average than those who had completely stopped smoking during this period. Consuming between 5 and 9 cigarettes resulted in a birth weight loss of 251 g. From 10 cigarettes, it was 262 g. “These data show the extreme toxicity of cigarettes to newborns in terms of birth weight“, said in 2017 Dr. Ivan Berlin, pharmacologist-addictologist at AP-HP. A low birth weight predisposes the baby to health problems, especially if he is premature.

A risk of premature delivery

The risks of premature delivery and ectopic pregnancy are also increased when smoking tobacco. Note: passive smoking should be monitored to avoid any risk of developmental delay.

Tobacco and breastfeeding

Tobacco also has consequences after childbirth, especially for breastfeeding women. The nicotine absorbed by the mother passes into breast milk, and the concentration of nicotine increases with the number of cigarettes smoked. Quitting smoking is therefore always beneficial, even after birth. As during pregnancy, smoking cessation assistance solutions are authorized, in particular nicotine substitutes. It is therefore not too late to end smoking. However, if you have not been able to quit smoking, breastfeeding remains the preferred method. The health authorities consider that the benefit / risk balance is in favor of breastfeeding. Concretely a child already exposed to toxic products in the womb, will still benefit from breastfeeding, even if the milk contains nicotine. On the other hand, you must avoid smoking during the hour preceding feeding. Note: women who smoke have less milk than women who do not smoke.

Risks of Asthma for the Baby

The child is at risk of developing respiratory diseases such as asthma, but also repetitive ear infections or bronchitis for example.

Stop smoking is not that simple, even when you are aware of the risks. Indeed, the nicotine absorbed while smoking is a real drug. The higher the level of nicotine dependence, the more difficult it is to quit smoking. How’s it going ? From the lungs, nicotine will attach directly to the brain in just under 10 seconds! Once in the brain, nicotine molecules lodge on neurons, in nicotinic receptors. The areas of the brain involved in the reward system are then activated. For the smoker, the effect is almost immediate: she feels good, less stressed, more intellectually active, etc. The only problem is that by activating this reward circuit, it becomes a habit and addiction settles … This is the reason why it is so difficult to quit smoking, even when you are convinced and determined.

Do not think that it is enough for you to reduce your consumption to one or two cigarettes per day to decrease your risks! Indeed, this kind of attitude generally leads, by a compensatory phenomenon linked to addiction, to shoot more on the few cigarettes, which then become just as harmful as the fumes usually. Even in small quantities, tobacco is harmful to the mother and the fetus.

Does the future dad smoke? Clearly, it is much simpler to quit smoking when the spouse is a non-smoker or, if not, when he too decides to quit smoking. Besides, you should know that exposure of pregnant women to second-hand smoke, at home, in the evening or at work, has an effect equivalent to a small maternal smoking. In fact, the toxic molecules of tobacco smoke also pass into the mother’s blood and therefore into that of the fetus. To avoid passive smoking, pregnant women are advised to avoid smoky atmospheres.

In France, there are still too many pregnant women who smoke. If pregnancy is often an additional motivation to quit smoking, it can sometimes be complicated. But rest assured, there are several aids for dependent pregnant women. Some maternities offer for example help with smoking cessation during pregnancy. After having carried out a test to establish her level of tobacco dependence, the future mother is then taken care of individually by a doctor or a midwife. Acupuncture andhypnosis can also be a solution to stop smoking. You should know that the sessions are reimbursed by social security if the therapist is approved and that you have a prescription from your doctor for theacupuncture. Finally, be aware that nicotine substitutes (patch, gum, etc.) can be used under medical supervision in pregnant and breastfeeding women. In addition, the first prenatal visit, which is scheduled during the first trimester of pregnancy, either with a gynecologist or with a midwife, is an opportunity to talk about medical monitoring of pregnancy. But also and above all of your lifestyle, therefore smoking. Ask any questions that worry you.

For light addictions, nicotine substitutes may be prescribed by a doctor or midwife, including those around the pregnant or childbirth woman. Patches, lozenges or chewing gum are part of the effective methods to help avoid the feeling of lack. However, given the risks of cardiac malformation of the fetus that they can cause, drugs to stop smoking are not recommended for pregnant women. As for the electronic cigarette, as its efficacy and dangerousness are still poorly understood, it is not one of the validated methods for stopping smoking. Ask your doctor for advice if you want more information based on your needs.

Tobaccoologists also offer psychological support. Ideal for pregnant women who find in this approach listening and support. In addition, depression is a side effect that should not be overlooked in smoking cessation in general. For a pregnant woman, the risk also exists, reinforced by the hormonal changes related to pregnancy. Another reason: authorized substitutes (prescribed on medical advice) are light. There are many ways to get help to stop smoking. Cognitive-behavioral therapies are recognized by experts for their effectiveness in supporting smoking cessation. The therapist helps, through dialogue and exercises, a person to modify a behavior or ways of thinking.

A tobacco specialist from Tabac Info Service will also be able to offer you the support most suited to your needs and your psychology: online or telephone coaching. You will also find a cartography there to know all the consultations of tobacco specialists near you. To ask a specialist for advice without having to travel, you can call Tabac Info Service who will offer you free personalized follow-up by his team of tobacco specialists (Dependency assessment, fear analysis, anticipation of difficulties). To find a tobacco specialist near you, consult thetobacco directory or contact a Tabac info service tobacco specialist at 39 89.

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