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Question
Posted by: Con | 2004/01/07

Smoking whils pregnant

I'm 9 week's pregnant and I'm finding it very hard to quit smoking. I'v cut down to 2 a day. How bad is this for Baby?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageGynaeDoc

Any smoking is bad for the baby, but the less you smoke the less the harm. Each time you smoke the baby is deprived of sufficient oxygen for that period of time. This is never ideal, but it is obviously better if it happens twice a day than 20 times a day.

Best wishes

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Con | 2004/01/12

Hi Www

Thanks for the advice and support. It's really great to be able to talk to people that know what you are going through. Today is my first completely non-smoking day and so far so good.

Thanks a mill,
Con

Reply to Con
Posted by: www | 2004/01/08

Hi Con,

I know how much pressure you are feeling right now and how guilty you are already feeling - believe me, I went through the exact same emotions. I read up EXTENSIVELY - everything I could get my hands/eyes on.

Here's what my gynaecologist told me (and she is one of the best in Gauteng with a very large "following"). She said that suddenly quitting cigarettes completely (ie cold turkey) is hard enough for anyone - it messes with your emotions, you become irritable and stressed out. Add to the mix the hormones which are messing with your entire body, including moods, that makes for a very stressful package both for you and everyone around you. She said that if you are stressed, you can cause more damage to the baby than smoking less than 5 of the lightest cigarettes a day. So that's what I did. I immediately changed to No.1's and cut down to 5 or less per day. She made sure she monitored his weight via sonar as well as the placenta, because those are the 2 biggest risks when smoking (birth weight and premature labour due to the placenta calcifying earlier). I gave birth normally to a very healthy 3,3kg baby with not a single allergy and completely colic-free as opposed to my first baby during whose pregnancy I never smoked a single cigarette, yet he was born 3 weeks early at 2,8kg with colic for the first 3 months.

Eventually you'll have to speak to your own doc about this and make the decision yourself. Obviously it's much better to quit completely under any circumstances, whether you're pregnant or not, but especially when you're pregnant, but for me it was just not something I could do during the pregnancy and while going through a nightmare of financial stresses.

The fact is unfortunately that if something does go wrong, you will feel responsible, whether it was your fault or not, and unfortunately people that are less informed will also point fingers and say anything that goes wrong is because of the cigarettes. So it's quite a hard choice to make and I wish you the best of luck and health.

Reply to www
Posted by: Kate | 2004/01/07

You can do IT. Just remember you are responsible for your baby and like most mothers, want to give your baby the best start. Keep that in mind and you will be able to do it.

Just don't make silly excuses for yourself. YOU CAN DO IT!!

Best of luck and enjoy this special journey!

Reply to Kate
Posted by: Con | 2004/01/07

I have cut down dramatically and I'v given myself a deadline of the 12th to stop completely. Thanks for the support.

Reply to Con
Posted by: Kate | 2004/01/07

It is my belief that smoking does harm the baby. There is enough scientific evidence that shows us this. My doctor is very against smoking and drinking during pregnancy.

Two of my friends smoked one or two cigarettes a day during their pregnancies, both babies were born underweight and both are allergic to milk and formula and have to drink only soya. Maybe it is a coincidence but they both had very difficult times with their babies. One even has asthma and her mother does blame herself for smoking. She didn't smoke with her second baby who is more healthy and was double her sister's birth weight. She also has had no problems with her second child and she is much more active than her older sister.

The other friend, I might add, doesn't take responsiblity for anything she does and thought drinking occassionally and smoking throughout her pregnancy was fine. I think if her child had any side affects of her behaviour, she would simply blame something else. As a lot of women who can't give up their habits do.

My feeling is that if you have already cut down to two a day, then you most certainly can achieve not smoking at all. Just take one day at a time but don't go through your pregnancy trying to tell yourself that two a day is fine. It is not fine, you are growing a tiny little life and you only have these 40 weeks to ensure that your baby develops to its full potential. Your child's health is YOUR responsibilty!

Plus smoking has been positivity linked to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) or better known as cot death. Stay away from smokey places and don't let anyone smoke around you either. Passive smoke is very dangerous too.

You can do it, it is all about your mind set and having cut down as you have shows that you are willing to do it, so carry on trying!

Reply to Kate
Posted by: Belle | 2004/01/07

Hi con

If you are finding it hard to stop compleatly then I have heard that cutting down to just a few a day is better that putting yourself and the baby through the stress of going cold turkey. Apparently smoking can cause low birth weight in babies but I have a few friends that smoked right through with no ill effects. I must add though that my sister stopped smoking half way through her pregnancy and when her daughter was born she had a heart defect and even though the doctors assured her that the smoking had nothing to do with it she still blames herself for not stopping sooner. (Her daughter is very healthy now). Just thought I would share that with you as we do tend to put all the responsibility on ourselves if we haven't done everything by the book.

Good luck

Reply to Belle

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