Nicotine may also lower a woman’s fertility by affecting the hormones that are necessary for pregnancy as well as hindering the journey of the egg to the womb.
Adults who are born to mothers who smoked during their pregnancy also have less chance of becoming a parent themselves, and IVF is less successful when one or both parties smoke.
So why is it harmful to smoke during pregnancy? Firstly, smokers are more likely to miscarry. Secondly, an unborn baby gets all its nutrients from its mother via the placenta and umbilical cord. Smoking exposes the foetus to the 4000 chemical toxins that are in tobacco smoke, and also damages the function of the placenta. This can raise the unborn baby’s heart rate as it struggles to get enough oxygen, and may result in low birth weight and a premature birth. Studies show that the more the mother smokes, the less the child weights.
Unfortunately, the damage doesn’t stop there; Babies born to smokers have poorer lung function and in general are ill more often suffering more commonly from conditions such as asthmatic bronchitis and inflammation of the middle ear in childhood. There also seems to be a direct link to smoking during pregnancy and cot death.
Pregnancy is a major motivation to give up smoking, and it’s never too late to stop; much of the damage can be reversed because your body has the ability to heal itself. In fact, although smoking causes a lower birth weight, women who stopped smoking halfway into their pregnancy gave birth to average weight babies. However despite this incentive the cravings can be so bad that not everyone manages to quit.
There are many ways to stop smoking; willpower, patches, gum, hypnotherapy, acupuncture and even a revolutionary therapy called bioresonance to name but a few. What you need to do is to look in to each therapy and see which one suits you the best. But make sure that you’re really ready to quit, as willpower will be your greatest tool to success.
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