If you're a smoker who recently discovered that you're pregnant, hopefully you gave up the habit as soon as possible as smoking during pregnancy may harm your baby's developing lungs. If you didn't find out you were expecting for a few weeks or even months, you may be panicking because you've been smoking this whole time. However, by talking to your doctor, there many be something you can do to help keep your baby healthy.
According to researchers from the Oregon Health and Science University, taking vitamin C during pregnancy may improve a newborn's lung function.
"Vitamin C is a simple, safe and inexpensive treatment that may decrease the impact of smoking during pregnancy on childhood respiratory health," said lead author Cynthia McEvoy, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics at Oregon Health and Science University Doernbecher Children's Hospital.
Quitting is key
To come to their conclusions, scientists examined more than 150 women who were less than 22 weeks pregnant and were unable to quit smoking. They discovered that women who took a vitamin C supplement gave birth to babies with increased lung function, compared to the women who took a placebo. Furthermore, the women who took vitamin C had babies who seemed to wheeze less than the others.
Study co-author Eliot Spindel, M.D., Ph.D., senior scientist at the Oregon National Primate Research Center at OHSU, explained that while these are promising findings, women should not take them to mean that they don't have to quit smoking when they are pregnant as long as they get enough vitamin C.
"Getting women to quit smoking during pregnancy has to be priority one," Spindel said.
Tips for quitting and getting vitamin C
The National Institutes of Health states that some of the best sources of vitamin C are cantaloupe, kiwi, mango, pineapple and papaya. You may want to consider adding these fruits to your diet even if you don't smoke, since it's important to get a healthy variety of nutrients while pregnant.
If you do smoke, the best way to quit is to remember that you're not just hurting your own health when you reach for a cigarette, but compromising that of your unborn child as well. You should talk to your doctor, who can offer you a number of tips for how to quit.
Were you a smoker when you discovered you were pregnant? How did you quit? Leave your tips here!