Smoking in pregnancy now proved to have substantial links to birth defects.

(20 Posts)
LDNmummy Tue 12-Jul-11 14:25:47

On a few threads I have seen on smoking in pregnancy, many women have argued that it is very hard to stop smoking even when pregnant due to the habits addictive qualities.

I am not severely anti smoking and have smoked socially in the past myself. I cannot say I know how hard it is to give up a serious smoking habit, but then I often think that if I were an everyday smoker and found out I was pregnant, I would stop immediately because the risk to my child would be too big a factor for me.

I wonder if now that there is proof that smoking in pregnancy does more than cause low birth weight or premature labour, more pregnant women will take into account the seriousness of the risk posed on their children and stop smoking as soon as they know they are pregnant.

This is the link to the article www.guardian.co.uk/society/2011/jul/12/birth-defects-linked-smoking-pregnancy

CogitoErgoSometimes Tue 12-Jul-11 14:33:16

Simple answer is 'no they won't'. Can't believe anyone genuinely doesn't know that smoking in pregnancy is a bad idea. If low birth-weight and premature labour don't make someone change their habits, this new information is going to have little or no effect either. Packets oof cigarettes come with the message 'SMOKING KILLS' and, if death isn't an adequate deterrent, what is?

LDNmummy Tue 12-Jul-11 16:04:19

I hope that does not turn out to be the case Cogito. Surely knowing you may put your child at risk of an actual life long disability that could otherwise have been avoided will spur some pregnant women on to take the seriousness of this issue into account.

The difference between low birth weight and premature labour to actual deformities and disabilities is a great deal IMO and I do hope and like to think this would be something to push people into quitting smoking while pregnant.

But your points are very valid.

SinicalSal Wed 13-Jul-11 19:48:45

Disagree with you Cogito, it will provide an extra incentive to a sizeable number. There'll always be a cohort who won't, and another who can't.

boysrock Wed 13-Jul-11 19:51:45

The problem is (and I dont dispute the findings or disagree with the premise btw) that birth defects occur in the very first weeks of pregnancy.

So it is possible that a smoker who doesn't realise she is pregnant has already had the damage done so to speak.

teej Wed 13-Jul-11 21:42:59

based upon the recent thread on smoking in chat, i fear i must agree with cogito.
i do fully believe the study, though. a DA had 5 pregnancies, all of which ended in miscarriage, stillbirth or cot death -both she and DU smoked. but this was back in the 50's and 60's when the tobacco companies were still hiding/stopping the publication of reports on the dangers of smoking, they weren't to know.

HalfTermHero Thu 14-Jul-11 17:09:54

I tend to agree that if you are the sort of person who is able to ignore low birth weight and threat of premature birth then you probably won't be motivated to stop smoking whatever evidence is thrown at you. My pathetic MIL for example. She thinks that the stress of quitting smoking is far far worse for your health then any of the proved illness caused by the habit.

all4u Thu 14-Jul-11 17:40:51

Er yes the only thing to do really is never even try a ciggie! If you do you are on the switchback and in the grip of addiction that may be too much for you depending on the strength of your character I suppose. I grew up with my ex miner and smoker Grandad coughing and unable to exert himself and my Gran sending him into the yard in disgust to have his fag - and my Mum became a nurse so all in all I was brought up not to touch them with a barge pole. I am trying to do the same with my two DS and DD. But is is so ugly and weird and smelly that I have always marvelled (on purely aesthetic grounds) why people do it...

Dianella Thu 14-Jul-11 21:33:57

This is such a "modern" phobia. I grew up in the days when, taken to the cinema as a small child, I can remember watching the movies through a blue haze of cigarette smoke and never even noticing the smell! These days everyone under the age of forty finds the smell utterly disgusting. Personally I can't bear the smell of cheap "celebrity" perfumes or out-of-the-can air fresheners but we just adapt. I smoked during pregnancy. Both my sons were slightly low birth weigh babies but are hulking-great thirty somethings now and I defy anyone to pick them out as having suffered as a result of my smoking. Think for yourselves and stop being fed your opinions by lobby groups.

antlerqueen Thu 14-Jul-11 22:59:18

Modern phobia?

Right.. My mum smoked during her first pregnancy. My eldest brother has asthma. She then stopped smoking to have four more - healthy - children.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 15-Jul-11 07:12:15

The woman I met on a pre-natal ward 'thought for herself'. Despite being told her baby was at risk, that she should stay on the ward, and despite the fact that her first child had been born well under 3lbs in weight, she constantly popped outside for a cigarette. After a few days her second child was born... again, well under 3lbs and needed SCBU treatment. Was she worried about this at all? Concerned that her actions may have contributed to the situation? Guilty perhaps? Not a bit. Instead she crowed that the second one was 3oz heavier than the first.

When thinking for yourself means ignoring very specific doctors' advice then it becomes irresponsibility. But, as I said earlier, certain people are very stubborn and very selfish.

PonceyMcPonce Fri 15-Jul-11 07:17:22

More an issuing of not thinking at all rather than not thinking for yourself.

Glad your sons are ok, but how odd to simply brush off low birth weight!

IvyAndGold Fri 15-Jul-11 08:51:43

i'm a non-smoker, but while i was pregnant had to live with a house of chain smokers. the only room i could get smoke free was my bedroom and even then had to remind people a few times that came walking in with a fag. had lines such as 'it's my house, i'll smoke where i like' and 'i smoked through all three of my pregnancies and nothing happened to me' fired at me, even had three people spark up a fag sitting in a small room with me 20min after i'd found out DD was much to small and was being sent to hospital the next day for an emergency scan.

low and behold DD was born four weeks early and measuring size of a 32wk pregnancy.

i do have some sympathy for people who really and truly do try to stop, and acknowledge the repercussions of heavy smoking during pregnancy. but anyone who says smoking has little effect or no on an unborn baby, even before this report came out, is a fucking idiot. how people can even attempt to justify it is beyond me.

MummyTigger Sat 16-Jul-11 23:17:10

I will admit that peoples' ignorance absolutely astounds me sometimes. Kudos to everyone who tries to stop - even if you fail you've at least made the attempt - but I've had to be very firm with people who have decided that, in fact, they can expose me to anything and everything they deem is "fit", even when medical opinion (and my own opinons) contradict them.

A prime example of this was at a BBQ while I was 29 weeks pregnant. I had an absolutely massive bump at the time and was around people who blatantly knew I was pregnant, and yet every time I was offered a drink it was "Would you like some wine? A cocktail? Cider?". After politely declining three times they got the message and instead changed the tactic to a very sarcastic "Would you like some water? Perhaps some juice? I'm afraid we don't have much that you can drink dear - after all, you ARE pregnant!"

The same person also kept coming up to me and making a massive show of my bump, lit fag in hand, exhaling everywhere. And when I (politely) pointed out that the smell was making me feel horrendous she stalked off and started complaining to all and sundry about people who think "they are better than others".

In my opinion, there's a reason why there's an age restriction on cigarettes and alchol. People have to be of an age to understand their own consequences, and a baby can't do that. It almost borders on child abuse in my opinion, and it's a severe opinion that not everyone likes - but I just can't see it as anything other than deliberately sacrificing your childs' wellbeing for your own selfish purposes.

AmandaB22 Mon 18-Jul-11 11:07:45

LDNmummy "The difference between low birth weight and premature labour to actual deformities and disabilities is a great deal IMO and I do hope and like to think this would be something to push people into quitting smoking while pregnant"

Having just had a prem baby I can tell you that a prem baby is not just a small baby needing to put weight on, prem babies have disabilites as they where born too early (my son has cronic lung disease). I saw a womam whos baby was born at 28 weeks smoke like a chimmny! she then went round telling everyone she had no idea why her baby was born too early!!!

IvyAndGold Tue 19-Jul-11 13:04:56

mummytigger i agree with you, along with people who smoke around their young children and in their houses. i find the majority people that think it's a stupid point of view are the people that do it. funny, that!

WiiUnfit Thu 21-Jul-11 10:56:28

I was admitted to hospital at 26 weeks, I spent a night on an ante-natal ward where the only other occupant was a vile woman who was in because of her risk of prem labour & who spent most of the night (whilst I was trying desperately to sleep) telling her friend on the phone, rather proudly, how because she smoked her DD was a small baby so she 'should have an easy birth' hmm Stupid fuckwit.

I understand it can be difficult to quit but I don't see why some women think it is perfectly acceptable. It is so incredibly selfish.

AdelaofBlois Sat 23-Jul-11 19:49:24

At least two women I knew smoked during pregnancy because, having suffered traumatic late miscarriages / still births in the past (having quit) they somehow felt it was a way of avoiding definitive commitment to a baby that might well die inside them any way.

I won't ever have to face decisions like that, but my heart goes out to them when I read threads like this. The reasons people smoke, and the feelings they have about pregnancy and children, really can't be easily pushed into 'ignorantly selfish' vs 'noble and informed'. Sometimes the real people get in the way, and it's hard to know how to help.

controlleddemolition Sat 23-Jul-11 21:24:59

I have no idea about this but I suspect people who smoke when pregnant do so with a notion that it isn't ideal but a sense that 'the worst case scenario will never happen to me'. I have never met a pregnant smoker who sees the risks of smoking in pregnancy as anything other than a "you could get hit by a bus tomorrow" kind of scenario.

Incidentally, I had a friend who was born with a missing forearm (exactly the same 'disability' as Cerri from cbeebies) who smoked in pregnancy and talked about how her sister smoked in pregnancy and how her sister's son was perfectly healthy/high birthweight etc. I doubt that these findings would make her think twice, especially as her own son was born perfectly healthy.

ragged Tue 26-Jul-11 15:23:48

The risks of those birth defects is truly very small; smoking raises that very small risk by about 25%; to be honest (so from something like 1% to about 1.25%), I wouldn't find that very compelling (am not a smoker).

So I don't smoke but I abhor the hatred directed at smoker mothers. After all, the best way to avoid any of these defects is to never have a baby at all.

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