Maybe Mum

For all the Maybe Mums out there wondering whether motherhood is for them

Start Smoke-Free: Smoking Before, During, and After Pregnancy

Start Smoke-Free: Smoking Before, During, and After Pregnancy

Do you smoke? Is it something you consider when thinking about the choice to have children or not? Currently, there’s a significant campaign advocating for a Smoke-Free start for every child. Yet, still, 1 in 10 women continues to smoke during pregnancy… I even read on the Rookvrije start website (in Dutch) that in the Netherlands, 45 babies die annually because the mother smoked during pregnancy.

Smoking Before Pregnancy

Anyone with a conscious desire for children, actively considering it, is advised to quit smoking before pregnancy. This advice extends not only to women but also to men. If you continue smoking, it affects:

  • Fertility: The quality of sperm decreases in men, and it may take longer for women to conceive (There’s even a risk that it might not happen at all.) The professional association for gynecologists, NVOG, believes that fertility treatment should only commence after a couple successfully quits smoking and waits for a minimum of three months.
  • Progression of Pregnancy: Higher risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, and preterm birth.
  • Health of Your Child: There’s a higher risk of congenital heart defects, cleft palate, clubfoot, or obesity.

Smoking During Pregnancy

It’s been communicated for a long time that smoking during pregnancy is harmful. I didn’t expect that one in ten women would continue smoking. Of course, quitting is challenging, but so much can go wrong, both during pregnancy and in your child’s development. Besides the aforementioned risks of smoking before pregnancy, smoking during pregnancy also increases the likelihood of placenta previa and premature placental abruption.

Smoking and Baby’s Development

I often hear doubts about having a child because you don’t know what kind of child you’ll have. By quitting smoking during pregnancy, you can at least reduce certain risks. If you continue smoking, it has numerous negative consequences. From birth defects, such as cleft lip, clubfoot, or heart defects, to growth retardation and low birth weight. And even more severe outcomes like stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Longer-term associations are also observed, including an increased risk of reduced lung function, obesity, developmental issues such as ADHD, and reduced fertility of the child.

Smoking and Children

Did you know that a quarter of women who quit smoking during pregnancy resume smoking after childbirth? More than half of this group of women does so within four weeks after delivery. I find it absurd. Especially because secondhand smoke has so many negative consequences for children. Smoking around your children increases the risk of SIDS, meningitis, middle ear infections, lung diseases like asthma and lower respiratory infections, but also poorer lung function and symptoms like shortness of breath, coughing, and wheezing. Of course, I understand that you don’t blow smoke directly into your child’s face, but nonsmokers still inhale harmful substances through thirdhand smoke. These substances stick to the smoker’s skin, hair, and clothing. But they also adhere to surfaces like floors, furniture, and even toys.

Foto: Pexels – /foto/persoon-rookvrije-sigaret-2827798/ van lil artsy My English is not very good, so I’m translating this with the help of Google Translate and ChatGPT.