Smoking during pregnancy highly hazardous, says Artemis Hospital Dr Geeta Buruah Nath
You may have heard that it is unsafe to smoke during pregnancy. Dr Geeta Buruah Nath from Artemis Hospital Gurgaon lists not one, but five risks that you put yourself and the baby at when you mix smoking with pregnancy. Have a look:
- Miscarriage and stillbirth
Although miscarriages usually occur in the first three months of pregnancy, they can occur even after 20 weeks of gestation. This is called a stillbirth. According to Artemis Hospital Dr Geeta Buruah Nath, smoking raises the likelihood of both early miscarriage and stillbirth.
2. Ectopic pregnancy
An ectopic pregnancy happens when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, either in the fallopian tube, or in the abdomen. In this situation, the embryo must be removed to avoid life-threatening complications to the mother. According to the doctors at Artemis Hospital, nicotine can cause contractions in the fallopian tubes. These contractions can prevent an embryo from passing through, causing ectopic pregnancy.
3. Placental abruption
Smoking is a major risk factor for several complications linked to the placenta, such as placenta abruption. This is a condition in which the placenta separates from the uterus before childbirth. This can cause severe bleeding and threaten the life of both the mother and the baby. There’s no surgery or treatment to reattach it.
4. Placenta previa
Smoking is also a risk factor for placenta previa. “The placenta normally grows in the uterus towards the top of the womb. This leaves the cervix open for delivery. However, in the case of placenta previa, the placenta stays in the lower part of the uterus, partially or fully covering the cervix. The placenta often tears causing excessive bleeding and depriving the fetus of vital nutrients and oxygen,” said Dr Geeta Buruah Nath.
5. Preterm birth
According to a study conducted by Artemis Hospital Gurgaon, smoking during pregnancy can also cause preterm birth, that is, when a baby is born too early. There are several health risks associated with a preterm birth, including visual and hearing impairments, mental disability, learning and behavioral problems, complications that could result in death. Other health issues that have been linked to preterm birth caused by smoking are underdeveloped heart, cleft lip and cleft palate.
The unfortunate truth is that many pregnant women continue to smoke despite knowing the risks it will create for themselves and their babies. Artemis Hospital doctors have found that about 10 per cent of women report that they smoked during the last three months of pregnancy. “The only real way to avoid pregnancy complications associated with smoking is to quit. No habit can be of greater value than that of your babies’ life,” said Dr Geeta Buruah Nath.