Smoking in pregnancy: Why it matters
Recently an article on smoking and obesity in pregnancy [Stuff, October 2017] upset many whanau in Taumarunui.
The latest statistics from the Waikato DHB shows that Tokoroa, Te Kuiti and Taumarunui continue to have a high number of women whom smoke or are obese in pregnancy.
It is clear that many people do not understand why we care and why it matters.
In New Zealand we want people receiving health care to make decisions and choices based on informed choice and consent.
This information is not to hurt or humiliate anyone, but to give facts so you can make choices for you and your baby.
‘‘I smoked in all my pregnancies and the kids are perfectly fine’’. This is a common statement in the community. The truth is your babies could not grow to their best potential.
Some women believe that it is better to have a small baby as this won’t hurt as much. The truth is bigger babies are easier to push out and less problematic. So why does it matter? Every person has choices. Health professionals must give you information so you can make choices based on accurate and scientific knowledge.
When you continue to smoke whilst being pregnant your baby is unable to grow to its full potential.
Your placenta/ whenua provides kai and oxygen to your baby.
These pipes get squeezed tightly so your baby will get fewer nutrients.
This means your baby will struggle to grow as well as he should.
After your baby is born the midwife will check your placenta/ Whenua.
The placenta from a smoker will feel like grains of sand which means the placenta has lots of dead spots over it.
Most babies born from mothers whom smoke in pregnancy are low birthweight or intra-uterine growth retarded.
These babies often get stressed during labour and birth.
Once born these babies’ find it difficult to keep warm and often have unstable blood sugars.
In labour the water around the baby is often stained with meconium, this is your baby’s first poo and may mean the baby has been stressed at some stage.
The baby continues to be exposed to over 700 poisons. Nicotine is only one of the deadly poisons.
Your chance of miscarriage during your pregnancy is much higher.
Your baby may die in the womb. This is called stillbirth and smoking in pregnancy is the biggest cause.
Your risk of having a blood clot in your pregnancy is higher. Blood clots can be fatal.
If you have a caesarean or a difficult
❚❚❚❚❚birth your body finds it more difficult to heal any trauma or wounds.
If you continue to smoke when baby has been born your child have high chances of being hospitalised for breathing problems and chest infections in the first year of their life.
Your child is more at risk of dying in their sleep. This is known as SIDS. We understand the addiction of smoking and will provide lots of support to you to cut down or stop smoking.
We can provide patches and gum to help you.
The Waikato DHB is starting a programme of incentives for pregnant women whom are smoking to stop.
If you would like support to cut down or stop smoking please talk with your midwife or doctor.
Smoke free matters during pregnancy.