Read on learn about the harmful effects of smoking, drinking and taking drugs during pregnancy.
Smoking, drinking and drugs can have harmful impact on the developing foetus. Therefore, expecting mothers should quit such habits as early as possible. Find about the common concerns of mothers related to smoking, drinking and taking drugs during pregnancy.
I have been a chain smoker for many years, how will it affect my baby?
There is no evidence to prove that smoking before getting pregnant has any harmful effects on the baby. However, heavy smoking during pregnancy, especially after the fourth month, could lead to miscarriages, premature and undersized babies, infant deaths, and physically and mentally deficient children. It is therefore recommended that mothers quit cigarette smoking as soon as possible.
If you are already 9 months pregnant and have still not stopped smoking, you should do so immediately, to preserve oxygen flow to the baby. Note that there have also been instances where chain smokers have delivered perfectly healthy babies, but the odds are certainly stacked against them.
Is passive smoking also harmful to the baby?
Although, not as harmful as direct smoking, passive smoking, (i.e. inhaling smoke when others smoke) is also harmful to the unborn child. It is therefore advisable to stay away from smoke-filled areas. It is also advisable for individuals to avoid smoking when a pregnant lady is around.
What effect will alcoholic drinks have on my baby?
Contrary to popular belief, a few drinks during pregnancy generally cause no harm to the baby. However, heavy drinking (5-6 drinks each time) during pregnancy can lead to serious complications. Babies born to alcoholic mothers could be undersized, be mentally deficient, and have deformities of the head, limbs, heart, nervous system, etc. Therefore, controlling your alcohol intake during pregnancy is essential.
I have been taking illicit drugs, will it affect my baby?
Drug use prior to getting pregnant, seems to pose almost no risk to the baby. Since the risk, however, increases with the progress of the pregnancy, if you are already pregnant, it is important to stop using any illicit drugs.
Marijuana use, even as infrequently as once a month during pregnancy, could lead to inadequate weight gain for the mother, severe vomiting bouts, complications during delivery and an undersized baby. Similarly, cocaine use could also result in miscarriages, premature delivery, infant death, and many other complications. Even an occasional use during the third trimester could trigger contractions and foetal distress.
How to quit smoking, drinking and taking drugs during pregnancy?
Let us take a look at some ways to get rid of the habit of smoking, drinking and taking drugs.
By quitting smoking you can keep your baby away from many harmful chemicals. Keeping in mind the harmful effects that smoking can cause on your unborn child, you must develop a strong will to quit smoking. Practicing meditation regularly can help you to develop strong will power to quit smoking.
Abstaining from smoking completely can make you feel down, but it will not cause any negative effects on your unborn child. Bear this effect for some weeks keeping in mind the well being of your child and everything should be fine after that. When you feel like smoking, divert your mind or chew a cardamom or eat fennel seeds after consulting your doctor. Make sure that you eat them in moderation.
If the above mentioned things are not possible, you can quit smoking gradually but you must quit it before you are 14 weeks pregnant. Quitting before that is even better. If you think that you would not be able to do so, contact a counsellor.
Stopping Alcoholic Drinks
Same rules apply to stop taking alcoholic drinks. You need to develop a strong will. When anyone offers you a drink, tell him or her that you are pregnant. Have healthy and refreshing drinks instead of taking alcoholic drinks. Stop doing activities that lead you take alcoholic drinks. Practice meditation to develop a strong will to stop taking alcoholic drinks. Consult a counsellor if nothing is working out.
You are already aware of the harmful effects of the drugs so you must stop taking them as early as possible if you are pregnant. You must immediately see your doctor. There are many programmes that can help you to deal with drug addiction easily.
If you are addicted to smoking, drinking or drugs, you need to take a first step in order to stop it for the well being of your baby. Remember, you mistakes can cost you your babyâ€™s life or your baby may have to suffer for the lifetime due to your negligence.
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- The Indiaparenting Team