Despite all the warnings to the contrary, the statistics regarding teenage smoking continues to rise.
Feeling invincible, a common misconception of the age group, smoking seems like an excellent means of achieving popularity, feeling grown up, and rebelling
Like Superman, the same rules do not seem to apply to high school and junior high age individuals. Kids think, unlike everyone else on the planet, they can quit any time. By the time teenagers understand the addictive nature of cigarettes, the damage has been done, and cessation is extremely difficult.
Although smokers agree the long-term effects of inhaling up to 1000 different chemical toxins is responsible for deadly diseases like heart attacks, emphysema, and cancer- the addiction rules. Sadly, when smokers choose to have a baby, the unborn child has no choice but to become a smoker as well.
Smoking before pregnancy can affect fertility. After conception, the baby is essential a smoker, increasing the odds of stillbirths and miscarriages. A smoker's baby is likely to be a low birth-weight, and have significant health problems long after birth. Yet, smoking mothers have the option to quit, before the chemicals can do irreparable damage.
Future mothers and fathers may have greater difficulty starting a family in the first place. For male smokers, sperm count is lower, the sperm may be misshapen, and motility is restricted by reduced semen.
For females, smoking affects the release of an egg through the fallopian tubes to the womb. Also, IVF is less likely to succeed. Although the egg is successfully fertilized in a test tube, the embryo will have difficulty attaching to the womb.
Even if the mother manages to conceive, she is still endangering the life of her unborn child, because the baby has no option but to smoke as well. Why? Anything the mother ingest is transferred to her baby via the placenta, including the 1000 toxic chemicals found in cigarettes.
In addition, the carbon monoxide, the same toxic emissions from a car's tailpipe, forms in the bloodstream, reducing the flow of oxygen to both mother and baby. Therefore, the baby is deprived of the appropriate amount of oxygen and nutrients to promote proper growth and development.
The mother's choice to smoke increases the odds of stillbirths and miscarriages. According to Dr. Krisa Van Meurs of Stanford University School of Medicine, there is a 33% increase in the chances of miscarriage before the 28th week. Also, because of restricted blood flow, doctors have found a greater incidence of spontaneous abortions among smokers.
If a baby manages to survive until birth, the health problems associated with cigarette smoking are only beginning. Because the carcinogens of cigarettes have replaced the appropriate levels of oxygen and nutrients, smoking is comparable to skipping feedings after birth. Thus, the low birth weight.
Think about it. No loving parent will allow an infant to go hungry. Nevertheless, smoking during pregancy essentially starves a growing fetus. Unfortunately, low birth weight babies cannot simply be fattened up after birth. Subjected to the same poisons a mother inhales during pregnancy, a smoker's baby's weight can also be an outward sing of grave inward health problems.
For example, studies have shown babies of smokers are much more likely to succumb to sudden infant death syndrome. Thus, the mortality of an infant, before age one, increases due to exposure from the harmful affects of cigarette smoke.
Also, because lung development has been compromised during pregnancy, a smoker's child is likely to suffer more colds and inner ear infections. Additionally, a baby is prone to illnesses such as pneumonia and bronchitis, requiring hospitalization.
Even as a baby grows into toddlerhood and beyond, the affects of being a smoking fetus can continue plaguing the child. Sadly, children exposed to smoking during pregnancy have increased chances of suffering from asthma and even cancer.
Asthma alone can be pretty scary. More than a simple cough or cold, asthma inflames the airways. As the bronchial tubes swell, a baby has greater difficulty breathing. Without immediate medical attention, a baby with asthma can perish.
As if asthma is not bad enough, babies exposed to cancer-causing pollutants in the womb have and increased probability of suffering life-threatening cancers in childhood: Numerous studies have investigated the incidence of childhood cancer in the children of women who smoked during pregnancy. An increased risk for all cancers is found as well as an association of acute lymphocytic leukemia and lymphoma with maternal smoking has been confirmed in several studies.
Thankfully, smoking mothers can drastically reduce the odds of a precious baby suffering from severe health problems and dastardly diseases. Quit smoking now! Give a baby the best chance at a healthy life, and a healthy mother.
Often, the willpower to quit is aided by pregnancy. If morning sickness does not make cigarettes taste disgusting, the love for a baby is a great motivator. Whether a mother quits smoking before conception or during the pregnancy, there is no time like the present.
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