Tobacco use has been documented for over 8 millennia now. Tobacco use has been part of social custom as well as a status symbol even. But why is tobacco use during pregnancy such a big NO?
Every parent wants the best possible start for their child. However, Tobacco use in pregnancy can compromise the health and safety of the mother and her baby. The nicotine, carbon monoxide and other numerous poisonous substances inhaled while smoking or consuming tobacco in any other form enters the mother’s lungs and from there it crosses the placenta and enters the bloodstream of the foetus. As a result it can lower the amount of oxygen available to the mother and the baby. It can elevate the baby’s heart rate, increase the risk of miscarriage and stillbirth or lead to premature delivery or low birth weight in baby. Tobacco use also increases the risk of respiratory disorders in the infant. It also increases the risk of birth defects as well as Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Tobacco can interfere with fetal growth, cause facial clefts, increase risk of asthma, colic, bone fractures, ear infections and obesity in the child.
Second hand smoke is equally dangerous for a pregnant woman and her foetus. More than 8 million people die each year due to use of tobacco, out of which 1.2 million people die as result of inhaling second hand smoke.
Cigarettes, cigars, smokeless tobacco products in the form of lozenges, strips, and sticks, E-cigarettes like vaping pen, chewable tobacco or snuff and water pipes like hookah and shisha are all equally addictive and pose health risk for a mother and her baby. It is best to stay away from tobacco before, during and after child birth.