Smoking cigarettes has been proven to detrimental to your health, as well as your baby’s health if you are pregnant. New scientific studies also show that women who smoke while pregnant increase the risk of having a child with cerebral palsy.
According to News Medical Life Sciences, smoking during pregnancy exposes unborn babies to dangerous chemicals inside cigarettes, including carbon monoxide, tar, and nicotine.
In a new study entitled, Maternal smoking in pregnancy and birth defects colon a systematic review based on 173 687 malformed cases in 11.7 million controls, an expert team of scientists and doctors studied how chemicals in cigarettes deprive infants of oxygen needed for healthy growth.
When infants are deprived of oxygen, they’re at a heightened risk of developing Hypoxia Ischemic Injury (HII).
HII leads to cellular death in an infant’s brain. Experts indicate that cerebral palsy is caused by cell death in the brain region that regulates memory and movement.
“By identifying the mechanism, we will be better able to identify potential preventative strategies and improve the neurological outcome in babies of smoking mothers,” said lead researcher, Dr Hui Chen, of the University of Technology Sydney.
According to Dr. Chen, women should give up smoking well before they become pregnant. It’s simply not good enough to stop smoking when you learn that you’re pregnant.
Women who anticipate becoming pregnant in the future should stop smoking within months and even years before conception. The reason for this is that smoking affects the quality of women’s eggs.
The research was carried out on young “mice pups” and concluded they developed high levels of oxidative stress in their brains. The results showed that the stress made it more likely for the pups to develop functional disorders.
“The increased oxidative stress is mainly because the mitochondria are unable to produce enough antioxidants to clear toxic chemicals called free radicals, causing harmful chemical build up in the brains of pups from the mothers exposed to cigarette smoke,” Dr. Chen reported.
Previous studies suggested that women exposed to cigarette smoke while pregnant may have the option of a possible preventative solution. Experts say the antioxidant L-Carnitine can be given to pregnant moms who smoke, which can possibly can help improve the baby’s respiratory system and kidneys.
Dr. Chen said that the next step is to use the antioxidant for further testing on mouse pips. Yet, the most safest method is to stop smoking before you become pregnant.
“The next step will be to use such a treatment to improve functional outcomes in pups from the smoking mothers. However, the message for the public is if you want a healthy baby, you need to stop smoking long before you plan for the pregnancy.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) backs up the new study. According to CDC, smoking while pregnant can cause an infant to have low birth weight, breathing problems and brain damage that causes cerebral palsy.
Smoking can also cause developmental delays problem with the child’s hearing and eyesight, and pregnant women risk of abnormal bleeding during pregnancy and delivery. Smoking during pregnancy also raises the baby’s risk for cleft lip and cleft palate, and an increased risk for SIDS.
Keep in mind that if you stop smoking, your baby has a better chance of having fewer coughs and colds, less ear infections, more oxygen, better growth, and a lesser chance of developing disabilities and diseases.
If you’re having trouble with trying to quit smoking, reach out to your primary care physician for support. For more information on cerebral palsy and smoking and how you can stop, feel free to contact us and we will provide you the resources needed to help you on your journey of ditching cigarettes forever.