Nicotine Control: Focus on Pregnancy

Story by – Valerie Kendall

May 31, 2012 - 2 minutes read

Most people know that smoking or chewing tobacco causes cancer, but women who use tobacco during pregnancy put themselves and their babies at risk for other life-threatening conditions.

Tobacco use during pregnancy can cause problems with the placenta, the baby’s source of food and oxygen. A very dangerous condition for both the mother and baby can occur, in which there is early separation of placenta from the womb, causing bleeding.

Women who use tobacco are more likely to have a miscarriage. The babies can be born too early and are more likely to have birth defects or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Chewing tobacco during pregnancy is just as dangerous as smoking during pregnancy. Iq’mik and commercial chew have many toxic chemicals that are dangerous to adults, but are especially dangerous for a mother’s unborn baby. The chemicals in tobacco, including nicotine, are transmitted to the baby through the mother’s blood. The baby can be born addicted to nicotine and experience withdrawal symptoms after birth.

Even after birth, it is important to protect a new baby from tobacco. If a baby is in a room with smokers, the second-hand smoke can increase the risk of respiratory infections, asthma and SIDS. The toxic chemicals in smoke can linger in a room and on a person long after the smoke has cleared the air. It is important to create a smoke-free environment in the home of the baby.

Because it is such a critical time to stay tobacco free, at YKHC Tobacco Prevention & Research, we are dedicated to the education and prevention of tobacco use during pregnancy. Call (907) 543-6483 for more information.

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