By Lisyuri Gallardo

Women have babies every day and want to do anything they can to care for them. But if these new mothers smoked through their pregnancy they may already not be doing everything they can to care for their new “bundle of joy.” Here are some things to think about if you are a current smoker and are going to be or are thinking about becoming pregnant.  

Healthy Babies: Smoking through a pregnancy may conclude in giving birth to a baby that is not healthy. If you smoked through a previous pregnancy and gave birth to a healthy baby, that does not guarantee it will happen a second time if you want another child. Quitting smoking lowers this risk for serious health issues.
Small Babies:  Smoking through a pregnancy may also increase the chance of you having a low birth rate baby which can be anything less than 5 ½ pounds. Early labor could be another cause of smoking during pregnancy.
Relaxation: Many women agree that smoking relaxes them and so also believe it would relax the baby. This is false. Smoking raises heart rate and increases blood pressure. Smoking also increases carbon monoxide in the bloodstream, giving less oxygen to the baby.
Amount of Cigarettes: The amount of cigarettes you smoke has nothing to do with the health of you or your baby. Even the smallest amount of cigarettes smoked can make harmful chemicals that will reach your baby and damage your health.
Weight Gain: Gaining weight is a normal part of pregnancy. Many women are afraid that when they quit smoking they will gain weight. If you are concerned about gaining weight, talk to your doctor about how it is beneficial to you and your baby and helps give the child vitamins and nutrients it needs.
Quitting: It can be very beneficial to you and your baby if you do not smoke during pregnancy or quit during pregnancy. Even to quit during the last three months of pregnancy can be beneficial to your baby. Quitting does not put extra stress on your body and can help your baby be protected from the dangers of secondhand smoke and the risk of the sudden death of infants. To quit smoking abruptly is not the only way to stop. Stopping gradually during pregnancy and looking for some help to do it is also good. Anything to stop the harm of smoking can be beneficial to you and your child.
Breastfeeding: It is encouraged for mothers to breastfeed their baby whether they stopped smoking or not. Breast milk provides your baby with many nutrients it will need for growth and development.

When becoming a mother there is a lot to think about, and if you smoke there is even more to think about. These are some things to think about if you are expecting and you have some concerns about smoking through the pregnancy. Even if you were not thinking about quitting for your pregnancy, you may have some more to consider. Anything you can do to stop the harmful effects of smoking during your pregnancy can be beneficial to you and your baby. 

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