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smoking while pregnant; is it any of my business? does it matter?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 

I have a friend who has been wanting to get pregnant again and specifically got off her birth control shots.  She told all of us that she succeeded, YIPPY, but when I asked her if she's stopping smoking she said no.  "It's not real until I go to the first doctor's appointment."  I pointed out that she peed on a stick and it said she's pregnant but she's not budging.  Many weeks passed and we were talking about her pregnancy and smoking came up again.  "I'm not quitting until I go to the first doctor's appointment.  Anyway, I got this app that shows development and it doesn't have lungs so it doesn't matter if I smoke.  You've never been addicted so you don't know."
 
That's true. I don't know what its like to be addicted to a drug.  I just know her son has really bad asthma from growing up in a smoking household and, once the doctor told her that nugget of information, then she stopped smoking in the house.  I thought she wouldn't want her fetus to start on the road to asthma.
 

She went to her doctor's appointment and at 7 weeks along posted the good news on FB.  She hasn't stopped smoking.  "It's hard. Anyway, my mom smoked through her whole pregnancy with me and I'm healthy."


My question is, when does it matter to the development of the zygote or fetus to stop smoking during pregnancy?  Is there a "safe" period where its ok to smoke?  And how do you react when you see a pregnant woman smoking? Do you feel moved to say something?  What do you say?

 

Thanks in advance for your advise.  I'm continuing to be positive and excited for her pregnancy.

post #2 of 18
I would probably leave it alone at this point. If you do feel compelled to say something, however, you might just ask if she wants to quit smoking and if she says she does, offer to help her find some resources about how to do that. I think that would be more helpful and effective than repeatedly asking her whether she has quit yet or not.
post #3 of 18

Leave it alone for now, her DR will ask her too and she will have to deal with then as well. 

post #4 of 18

Honestly, I probably couldn't keep my mouth. Smoking is terrible for fetal development. She has already hurt one child with her addiction. It would probably be something I pushed until I lost the friendship. She is making terrible prenatal choices and it isn't her right to do so.

post #5 of 18

Your goal is to get her to quit smoking, right? There is nothing wrong with bringing it up and gently challenging her beliefs that it's not hurting her baby. But nagging, judging, shaming, etc. are not going to make it more likely that she will quit.

 

I'm not saying that smoking is not bad for you and your baby, but I do wonder how it compares to other exposures to toxins that few people seem to worry about. For example, pregnant women live in urban areas with poor air quality, and no one judges their decision to remain there. Most people do nothing to avoid BPA, but exposure in pregnant women is known to hurt fetal development. Early in my pregnancy I spent an evening close to a bonfire in which people were burning some questionable lumber. It only occurred to me later that I very well may have inhaled fumes more toxic than a cigarette. I'm just suggesting we try to keep things in perspective. All of us had probably made some bad choices while pregnant out of ignorance.

 

I quit smoking not too long ago after many years. I can say that quitting is not as hard as it seems like it will be when you are in the grips of the addiction. It is really just a matter of choosing to do it. The intense physical cravings only last a couple days. I didn't really like it, but a lot of people swear by the book The Easy Way to Quit Smoking by Alan Carr. (I think that's the right name.) It couldn't hurt to give it to her as a gift, if you are so inclined. And then drop the subject so she doesn't feel nagged.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by JudiAU View Post

Honestly, I probably couldn't keep my mouth. Smoking is terrible for fetal development. She has already hurt one child with her addiction. It would probably be something I pushed until I lost the friendship. She is making terrible prenatal choices and it isn't her right to do so.

 

This statement sounds very offensive to me. Pregnant women have all the rights that other people have.

post #6 of 18
It's her right to do what she wants. She needs to quit, but it's none of your business when and how. While you're at it you should watch her diet too and nag her about prenatal vitamins.
post #7 of 18
It's her right to do what she wants. She needs to quit, but it's none of your business when and how. While you're at it you should watch her diet too and nag her about prenatal vitamins.
post #8 of 18

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by kierae View Post

 


My question is, when does it matter to the development of the zygote or fetus to stop smoking during pregnancy?  Is there a "safe" period where its ok to smoke?  And how do you react when you see a pregnant woman smoking? Do you feel moved to say something?  What do you say?

 

Thanks in advance for your advise.  I'm continuing to be positive and excited for her pregnancy.

 

 

I don't know when a fetus is affected- I would assume the entirety of the pregnancy. There is no safe period to smoke.

 

When I see a pregnant woman smoking, I am bummed and kinda grossed out, but I say nothing. If it was a really close friend I would share my story of quitting smoking (I quit cold turkey with dd1 the minute the line turned red) and I would offer to help with support if she wanted to quit. I don't think you can say a thing to a woman you don't know well.

 

My dad died of lung cancer from smoking, so it's really horrifiying to me.

post #9 of 18

As a former smoker, I would leave the smoking aside (she knows what she's doing) and focus on activities that counter smoking.  Is she active at all?  Could you encourage her to go for quick walks with you?  The only way I quit was by starting to seriously exercise.  You could support her by bringing over exercise videos (if you live nearby) and doing them together (working up slowly, obviously) or doing quick walks (obviously, without the smokes).  The more active she is, the less she'll want to smoke (because it starts feeling disgusting and becomes counter-productive) and exercise has the added side-effect of helping ease the stress caused by quitting.  l second some of the PP that negativity and nagging will not accomplish anything... in fact, she'll be more likely to dig in her heels because she feels attacked.  Focus instead on positive things like exercise that will encourage her to get healthy.  And even if she doesn't quit, moderately working out will help undo a little of the damage she's causing.

 

As for your original question, smoking at all stages of pregnancy is dangerous.  In the first trimester she's exposing the baby to toxins and carcinogens that affect cell growth and in the later stages the baby's developing lungs, brain, and other organs are being harmed as well.  Finally, smoking around children, even if she's not doing it in the house, is dangerous because the chemicals cling to clothes and provide a powerful "second second hand" smoke that can trigger asthma and other problems just like the smoke itself can. 

post #10 of 18

I smoked when i got pregnant with my first two kids - i did my level best to quit, with my first i gained 85 lbs - i never smoked more than 5 cigs a day and was totally quit in the last trimester.  Of course, as soon as she was born i was back at it ....with my second i only gained 65 lbs - lol - i can remember starting my week on Monday realizing , "ok - im pregnant, i have to eat healthy and  i cant smoke!" by Wednesday id be bumming a cig off a friend at work - by Thursday id be bumming two....by Friday id buy a pack and smoke it all weekend long - and on Monday wake up to the same sentiment 'im pregnant, i have to eat healthy and not smoke!"  i went on like that for MONTHS!  By the 8th month i was down to one cig a day - and then didnt smoke at all postpartum. 

One thing you can help her focus in on would be the postpartum experience.  You mentioned she doesnt smoke in the house anymore - what is her plan after the baby is born?   It can be really tough to run outside with a newborn and a toddler in the house!   Also - does her DH smoke?  mine continued to smoke - in the house, in my face....he never felt the need to quit and refused to understand that his continuing to smoke made it HARDER for me to quit!   (yeah i know, were divorced now!) 

I dont feel smoking while pregnant is necessarily a death sentence for the baby.  Like Laurucha says - there are plenty of things we inhale on a daily basis that arent so great for the fetus.  Of course, smoking is within our control and it would be terriffic if she made the effort to quit.  It could be argued that gaining 85 lbs was more dangerous than smoking! 

I found quitting to be exceptionally hard - i know my MW recommended Nicorette at the time. ( I dont know if that is any better or worse for the baby since its still Nicotine entering your system)    Maybe look into that for her - it would make a great Mothers Day present!

post #11 of 18

I would leave it alone.  She knows smoking is bad for baby- she's just making excuses to justify it to herself for whatever reason.  She's an adult and can decide for herself.

 

You may not like it, but it's none of your business.

 

Signed,

The pregnant mama who drinks a diet coke every.day. and refuses to feel bad about it.

post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 

Thanks to everyone for their comments.  Just for the record, I didn't nag her.  It was mentioned 3 times (not all by me) throughout our multiple discussions of everything else pregnancy related.  Mostly funny names for the baby and the need to add silent z, q, x, k, or whatever letter into the name.

 

This may not be an issue for much longer.  She's been pre-diabetic for as long as I've known her and at her only doctor's appointment they mentioned that she may develop diabetes during this pregnancy.  That scared the poop out of her and she announced she'll be terminating the pregnancy if that happens.  She talked about how much she wanted the pregnancy and if she does terminate then she's not going to try getting pregnant again.  I told her I'd go with her if she'd like because it's always nice to have someone help you through the protesters. 

post #13 of 18

Sorry, but I don't understand what diabetes has to do with terminating the pregnancy.  But it's not you, it's your friend so you don't really have to explain her bizarre thinking.

post #14 of 18

Usually, and i could be wrong, but usually, gestational diabetes doesn't occur until much later in the pregnancy, and it may be too late to terminate. 

 

The fact is that you can say your peace in a loving, supportive-friend way, but you can't make those decisions for her (regarding smoking). 

post #15 of 18

"Is there a "safe" period where its ok to smoke?"

 

No, because smoking reduces the amount of oxygen going to the uterus. Even before the placenta is formed, during each time she smokes, there is less oxygen going to her growing baby.

 

Where I work, we test for gestational diabetes at 28 weeks, way too late to end a pregnancy.

post #16 of 18

For what it's worth (and I know this thread probably isn't helping anyone by now because the actual person involved won't read it), but I'd like to respectfully disagree with the posters who equate smoking with using BPA bottles and other low-level environmental toxin exposure.  There's just no similarity between purposely inhaling toxins including tar and formaldehyde with allowing your kid to have canned soup (which, recent studies have shown, doesn't actually increase the BPA load significantly anyway).  I'm all about reducing environmental toxins and I use stainless steel and cast iron or glass in our kitchen for that reason.  But as a former smoker, I know the damage I was doing to my body because I experienced it firsthand every time I woke up and every cigarette I smoked.  I couldn't walk up stairs without wheezing, I woke up with a hacking cough, and my asthma was out of control.  To do that kind of damage to an innocent and developing human being who is completely dependent on you for its survival, health, and development is cruel and selfish.  Get over it.  Even the nicotine patch is better than the crap people put into their bodies from smoking.  You have a choice in the kinds of health decisions you make for your child and there is no excuse whatsoever for continuing to smoke while pregnant.  I quit a pack and a half a day habit five years before I conceived and anyone who cares enough about their child can quit too. 

 

/end rant

post #17 of 18
Just one more vote for no, none of your business smile.gif I do say that as gently as possible. At this point, I'd back off and let her come to you -- it IS hard to quit and she needs a lot of support and a lot less shaming/blaming.
post #18 of 18

Um, you might mention that whether the baby has lungs or not doesn't make a difference.  Sorry.  I get hung up on random things sometimes.  You voiced your opinion that you didn't think smoking is such a wise choice.  She's a big girl, she can make her own choices.

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