Smoking and Pregnancy

Maternal smoking is one of the burning problems in the modern medicine. In 2005, 12% of pregnant women were tobacco addicted and by 2025, their number is expected to rise up to 20%. Women’s tobacco exposure during the pregnancy causes a great number of negative consequences to the born children. I would like to draw the public attention to the problem of maternal smoking. The following article is dedicated to the tobacco addiction, its relations with other bad habits, and the key negative effects of smoking on exposed children as passive maternal smoking and postnatal smoking are as dangerous as the active one. Smoking during pregnancy makes a negative effect on children’s physical growth, mental development, and conduct. For example, future mothers’ tobacco addiction leads to low birth weight and length of a newborn, with its decreased circumference. In fact, children of heavily smoking mothers lose their weight approximately 158 grams per pack every day. Maternal smoking may be the reason of sudden infant death syndrome.

Cigarette smoke includes numerous dangerous elements such as carbon monoxide and nicotine. Carbon monoxide leads to fetal hypoxia, the rapid shortage of the volume of oxygen a fetus uses. Nicotine is the poisonous ingredient that affects uterine arteries, which deprives the fetus of the proper amount of oxygen and nutritious elements. Moreover, nicotine is the reason of damaging the fetus’ brain cells and even their death. Combining with other neuro teratogens’ actions, nicotine causes neurobehavioral and functional impairment of newborn children. At birth, prenatal tobacco exposure has been associated with poorer auditory orientation and autonomic regulation and increased tremors and startles. Newborn boys experience more adverse consequences than girls whose mothers smoked. Infants undergo negative influence of passive prenatal smoking in the maximum degree as the may develop muscle tone abnormalities.

It should be mentioned that tobacco addiction is often combined with alcohol use. In fact, in the smoking risk group, approximately 76% of adult pregnant women prefer strong drinks during the first trimester of their pregnancy. Moreover, nearly 61% of women from teenagers smoking group tried strong drinks during the first month of their pregnancies. Being one of the adverse habits of individuals, leading antisocial behavior, active smoking is often combined with the drug addiction. For example, approximately 74% of pregnant women, suffering from drug-addiction, informed about their smoking.

Maternal passive smoking leads to adverse outcomes as well as its active form. Postnatal addiction to the adverse habit does not contribute to infants’ health. The statistical data about potential danger of suffering from environmental tobacco smoke leaves much to be desired. For example, approximately 37% of future mothers were passive smokers, and their home and workplace were the potential sources of cigarette smoke exposure. Approximately 62% of pregnant women are subjected to passive smoking at home, and about 46% have to suffer from nicotine exposure at work. Finally, about 84% of pregnant women’s husbands smoke after their children’s birth, exposing their wives and offspring to adverse conditions.

Children experience various health disorders caused by their mothers’ smoking. Approximately 20% of exposed offspring have externalizing conduct problems, 18% suffer from internalizing difficulties, and about 19% have overall clinical problems.

Future mothers are strongly advised to quit their bad habit. Despite obtained health problems because of tobacco smoke, pregnant women are encouraged to turn to smoke cessation before the second trimester of their pregnancy begins. Nursing staff contributes to this step. Nevertheless, midwives may not force women to quit adverse habit.

Trust is extremely important in the relationships between midwives and pregnant women. Some future mothers conceal their smoking from nursing personnel. Midwives can only inform women about the detrimental effect of tobacco smoking on the fetus and suggest their help in smoking cessation. Nevertheless, women must take their own decisions and be responsible for their actions.

The National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training developed medical coaching. It includes three stages. Pregnant women information about their attitude to smoking in the written form. In case of positive answer, midwives give gentle advice to quit the threatening habit. Finally, psychological support is implemented. The psychological model of conduct change has success. It includes such stages as Pre-contemplation, Contemplation, Preparation, Action, Maintenance.

After giving birth to their children, women often start smoking again because of the physical component of their adverse habit. They make about 80% of the total number. Under the circumstances, midwives are to be extremely attentive to the patients, suggesting therapeutic support of NHS SSS.

To sum up, the problem of smoking pregnant women is one of the key challenges facing modern medicine. Unfortunately, the number of tobacco risky groups rapidly increases. Tobacco smoking can be active and passive. Both it's forms are dangerous for the fetus since they damage it. Later, newborn babies would have health problems, both physical and mental ones.

Nursing personnel plays an extremely important role in convincing women to quit their adverse habit. Nevertheless, midwives do not have the right to make pregnant women quit smoking. Questionnaires and further involving into supporting programs are successful, helping women to leave their adverse habit.

Taking into account all the above-mentioned information, one must remember that healthy children are the joy for their families and the prosperity of the nation. Both parents and nursing personnel are to be extremely attentive to keep these health, avoiding damaging habits such as smoking.

About the author 
Cordelia Mitchell is a student at the University of California and a writer on It's a popular and reliable writing service which offer a wide range of papers. They help students to make perfect their essay, report, course work or research paper.

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