We all have our bad habits, whether it's drinking too much coffee or driving too fast. Some are more harmful than others, but as long as we're not affecting anyone else, then why are they anyone else's business? However, when you're pregnant, you may be a bit more concerned about parts of your routine - smoking in particular.
Reuters Health recently reported on a study from Denmark that found that quitting smoking early in your pregnancy can help you add 6 more pounds on average than if you continued smoking. In turn, your baby will usually have a similar birth weight to children born to non-smokers, while smoking can lead you to deliver a child with a low weight.
"The big thing to get out of this study is that quitting early in pregnancy is as helpful in respect to the birth weight of your baby as never having smoked while you were pregnant," Amber Samuel, M.D., a maternal-fetal medicine expert at the Emory University School of Medicine, told Reuters.
So if you think that your smoking habit has already affected your child and that you may as well continue smoking, you may want to reconsider, since you can still have a healthier delivery if you quit early into your first trimester. Even the recently much-discussed Emily Oster, whose controversial opinions on pregnancy have been discussed by the Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post, found that smoking is bad for your child. This is despite her belief that other activities traditionally considered unhealthy during pregnancy, like drinking coffee or alcohol, may be fine in moderation.
The risks of smoking during and after your pregnancy
Reuters Health reported a low birth weight is associated with breathing and respiratory disorders, a greater chance for infections, developmental issues and a number of other long-term complications.
According to the American Cancer Society, smoking can also lead to premature birth and an increased risk of conditions like sudden infant death syndrome. The organization noted that the habit can still be a problem after your delivery, since nicotine and other harmful substances can be passed on to your baby through your breast milk.
If you're having trouble quitting, the ACS recommended therapy. This may help you carry your child to term and avoid health complications. If you feel the urge to smoke again after your baby's born, it suggested that you try smoking after breastfeeding, as well as keeping smoke out of the house. This can minimize the amount of exposure your newborn has to dangerous chemicals.
Did you have any habits you tried to kick during your pregnancy? How did it go? Drop us a line and let us know!