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Smoking During Pregnancy In The UK – Statistics And How To Quit Smoking


According to NHS Digital, 14.4% of adults in England are smokers. In areas like Kingston, Hull, and Lincoln, there are reports that 26% of adults are smoking in those regions.

Most people know the dangerous effects of smoking and secondhand smoke has on a person with the most prominent consequences being lung and throat diseases and cancers.

In England, 10.6% of pregnant women were reported to smoke throughout their pregnancy. Not only is smoking dangerous for the mother but also dangerous for their unborn and newborn children.

This article will discuss all the effects and how to quit.

The Effects of Smoking to an Unborn Baby

Smoking during pregnancy is extremely harmful to the mom and the baby. Some of the common harmful effects are premature delivery, miscarriage, stillbirth, or sudden infant death.

When you smoke during pregnancy, it is like you are blowing smoke into a baby’s face. All the poisons from the cigarettes are passed to your unborn baby and can last in the womb for 15 minutes with each cigarette. That is like having your baby in a smoke-filled room for 15 minutes.

Every time you smoke, you are inhaling 4,000 chemicals that go straight from your lungs to your bloodstream. From the bloodstream, all the chemicals flow into the placenta and umbilical cord right into your baby’s tiny body. All of this causes your baby to struggle for oxygen.

Carbon monoxide, one of the most dangerous chemicals found in cigarettes, enters your baby and causes their heart to pump even harder. When carbon monoxide enters your bloodstream, it restricts oxygen which is essential for your baby’s growth and development.

The Effects of Smoking to a Newborn

Smoking doesn’t just affect your baby in the womb, but also when they are born. If you smoke during your entire pregnancy, your baby will be addicted to nicotine and immediately start going through nicotine withdrawal.

Nicotine withdrawal causes your infant to get stressed and irritable. With all this stress and irritation, your baby may start uncontrollably crying, and you won’t be able to easily soothe them.

According to NHS Digital, smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of your baby dying from sudden infant death or cot death by 25%.

If you stopped smoking during pregnancy, all of these problems will be avoided, and your precious baby will have a healthier start in life. But that doesn’t mean you are in the clear yet, especially if you smoke around your children.

The Effects of Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke is the smoke you exhale from smoking a cigarette and the excess smoke that comes off the end of a lit cigarette. Secondhand smoke contains more than 4,000 dangerous chemicals including arsenic, benzene, and cyanide. Plus, secondhand smoke can cause all the lung and throat diseases and cancers that smokers are exposed to.

Children are extremely vulnerable to the effects of secondhand smoke because they breathe more rapidly and have less developed airways, lungs, and immune systems. Those who breathe in secondhand smoke have resulted in 300,000 doctor appoints and 9,000 hospital admissions a year.

Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at risk of ear infections, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma attacks, and meningitis. Plus, children who breathe in secondhand smoke have a 24% increase in risk for lung cancer and at risk for heart disease by 25%.

Keeping your children away from second hand smoke is the best way to avoid harming them.

Best Ways to Quit Smoking During Pregnancy

The best way to avoid harming your unborn baby is to quit smoking during your pregnancy. For many people, it takes a lot of help to quit smoking during a very stressful time — pregnancy. Before you worry, here are some great resources.

One of the best ways to quit smoking is with nicotine replacement therapy. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) only contains nicotine and none of the harmful chemicals that are found in a cigarette. NFT is available in patches, gum, inhalator, nasal spray, mouth spray, oral strips, lozenges, and microtabs.

Another great way to get help is with the NHS Smokefree helpline. The NHS Smokefree helpline gives free help, advice, and support on stopping smoking. They offer services like one-on-one or group sessions with stop smoking advisors and pregnancy stop smoking specialists. To find the closest NHS Smokefree specialist, you can contact a midwife, a health visitor, a nurse at your GP surgery, or a pharmacist.

For any other information, questions, or concerns, speak with your doctor before starting any of these treatments.

Best Ways to Quit Smoking Altogether

For the safety of yourself and your children, the best way to stay healthy is to quit smoking altogether. As a new parent, life will get crazy, busy, and stressful with a newborn, and you may have the urge to smoke a cigarette to relax. Before smoking, check out these ways to help you quit.

Like mentioned before nicotine replacement therapy is a great start on quitting smoking. NRT only contains nicotine and none of the harmful chemicals that a cigarette will contain. The best way to get started with NRT is through patches and gum.

Other treatments you can try are liquorice-flavored nicotine, Champix, or Zyban. Only use these products when you aren’t pregnant.

If these methods aren’t working, there are other sources you can reach out to like NHS Smokefree helpline. They offer support sessions, advice, and advisors to help you quit smoking.

A new way that people are trying to stop smoking cigarettes is by using e-cigarettes. E-cigarettes are still pretty new, and scientists and doctors are still researching their effects on people. However, e-cigarettes do not contain the two most toxic ingredients — carbon monoxide and tar. They do contain the other harmful chemicals, but at lower levels.

Now that you are on the road to quitting smoking, it’s time to enjoy your pregnancy and your new baby. For further information about smoking during pregnancy, find out more information here. And, for information about pregnancy, children, and children’s products, head over to ChildMode.

For more information from our health information pages click here and from the NHS click here.

Article created by our friends at Childmode.