Monday, March 16, 2009

Smoking During Pregnancy

(Originally written on March 16th, 2009. Posted to COSA18 on September 16th, 2009.)

     This is a topic that has bothered me for as long as I have been aware of smoking and pregnancy in general.

     I've seen it come up often in my life as of late, I'm older, and more of my friends/acquaintances are having children. With that, people I know feel the need to smoke (some who aren't even 18, in which that case it's illegal), and don't care enough to quit while pregnant. Check out this quote from

"Smoking-related diseases claim an estimated 438,000 American lives each year, including those affected indirectly, such as babies born prematurely due to prenatal maternal smoking and victims of "secondhand" exposure to tobacco's carcinogens."

     However, if you're smoking while pregnant I doubt the facts are going to get under your skin far enough to make you quit because you've probably heard it from others. Everyone knows that smoking can hurt developing babies, but sometimes that isn't enough.

     So from my own opinions, first of all smoking is absolutely disgusting, pregnant or not. You're really putting toxins up to your lips, and for what? To get through hard times? That's an excuse, because up until the moment you picked up your first cigarette you got through life without them (it doesn't matter how well you did, the fact is you did because you're still here). But today I'm not here to lecture you on your own health as much as I am about your unborn child's health. Here is another quote from

"More than 60 percent of all crib deaths, also known as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), could be prevented if people stopped smoking around their babies and pregnant women, the report in the British Medical Journal said."

     If you read carefully, that's just around babies and pregnant women. I am absolutely positive the risks go up if you are the pregnant woman smoking! Not only that, it is positively selfish to smoke while pregnant, because not only are you harming yourself, but you are harming another human being that cannot get away from it. Do you really want to bring a child into the world who's body is telling them to get away from you? Smoking is toxic, and while it doesn't directly kill like heavier narcotics, it kills nearly half a million lives in just America due to related issues (as said in a quote above).

     Cutting down on cigarettes won't save your baby either. It's proven that those that force themselves to smoke fewer cigarettes inhale deeper when they do, equaling the effects of smoking more cigarettes with regular inhalation.

     If you're pregnant and you can't control yourself enough to stop smoking while pregnant, in my opinion you're not ready to be a mother. If you cannot control one extremely dangerous aspect of your life, and can't show self-control from the very beginning, how can you raise a child healthily with such personal bad habits? Children take lessons from their parents sub-consciously very early on. Do you really want your children to take after your horrible examples? Be honest with yourself. No matter how many times you tell your children or other people's children, "Don't smoke like I do, don't ever grow up and smoke," you're still showing by example—which delivers a stronger message—that smoking is okay.

     Abusing substances, and even alcohol, is horrible. However, there is hope. There are many ways and many people that are willing to help you overcome addiction, and you can take the first step today. If you decide today is the first day, or maybe you just want to see what it's about, try finding a Narcotics Anonymous meeting near you with this locator. Generally NA isn't typically for those that smoke just cigarettes, but if you're a pregnant woman smoking then I'm sure someone there has some advice or direction they'd be willing to offer.

     All in all, good luck with your baby. I hope you make the correct decision!

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