Opinion: Why Smoking When Pregnant Is The Most Disgusting Act, Ever
Drive past any maternity hospital in the country, and you are bound to see one or two heavily pregnant mums in their pjs and dressing gowns, standing outside and smoking.
For the general population, it's an image that doesn't sit well with us. We wonder how they can stand in public view and do something that everyone knows is harmful to the unborn child.
We wonder how the maternity hospitals can allow them out the front door, packet of cigarettes and lighter in hand, lest they should degrade the name of the hospital?
We wonder to ourselves if these mums simply don't care about their babies.
In short - we judge.
I was a smoker, a dedicated smoker. I quit when I found out I was pregnant with Jacob and it was ridiculously hard. I dreamt about smoking all the time and my pregnancy cravings were for nicotine and nicotine only.
When Jacob came along, I lasted another few months and started smoking again. I loved smoking. As soon as Jacob would have a nap, I'd run out the back garden to smoke. When I knew it was almost time to wake him again, I'd have another and then furiously brush my teeth and wash my hands before waking him. I needed the cigs but felt guilty about smoking because of him all the time and so never smoked in front of him.
When I became pregnant with Eva, I stopped smoking again. This time it was surprisingly easier; I had almost gotten to the point of talking myself out of it, for the sake of the kids. But I still missed them during the pregnancy and although I admit to TWO drunken cigarettes since she was born last year, I am technically off them now.
I know how hard it is but I also know how doable it is, and so it pisses me off no end when other women smoke when they're pregnant. I've heard all the excuses from 'if I'm not stressed then the baby's not stressed' to 'I smoked so much that if I just stopped, my body would go into shock'. Like, who are you kidding?
Siobhán Boyce, a registered general nurse, says of the harmful effects of smoking during pregnancy;
Previous studies have associated prenatal smoke exposure with reduced birth weight, poor developmental and psychological outcomes and increased risk for diseases and behavioural disorders later in life.
Lots of women smoke while pregnant and have healthy babies, others don’t have such healthy babies. The fact of the matter is - regardless of how one tries to validate smoking while pregnant - you introduce toxins that are damaging to your foetus and that’s not ideal!
And if I could give them up, then seriously, so can you.
If you are finding it hard to quit, talk to your GP or visit Quit.ie