Have you ever seen a pregnant woman smoking? I have. I was in downtown San Francisco and there was a woman on a corner, trying not to be noticed, but it was hard not to see her and her large pregnant belly.
In her hand was a lit cigarette and she was puffing away like a pro. I hoped that the look on her face was one of shame, but it looked more like a threatening stare, she seemed to be waiting for someone to challenge her actions. She looked like the kind of woman you did not want to mess with. I could envision her response from a stern “mind your own business” to something that included far more colorful language. My instinct, as a mother, was to go over to her and grab the cigarette from her hand, stomp on it and give her a firm lecture. But I know better. I just kept on walking. It really was a jarring sight and, sadly, one that is far more common than you’d think.
A recent CDC report made the claim that one in ten women who are pregnant continue to smoke. Even though as the CDC reports — “smoking during pregnancy increases the risk for complications such as fetal growth restriction, preterm delivery, and infant death.”
The Business Insider posted a map of where these pregnant smokers are living and noted that:
“Seventy-five percent of New York City women quit during pregnancy; only about a third of West Virginia women do the same. (Throughout the country, an average of 54.3 percent of women quit by their last trimester.) The CDC also warns that since the numbers are self-reported, pregnant women who feel guilty might under-report smoking and over-report quitting.”
And I’d wager that those who under-report are a sizable group.
But what else can be done to lower these numbers even more? There are already warnings on cigarette packages, not a single doctor would condone the habit, and I would think every woman would know that it’s bad for their baby, yet it is still happening. And it would not be wise to live out my fantasy of going up to pregnant women and grabbing the cigarettes from their mouths and stomping them out. Let’s just hope the message sinks in and that more women just use their common sense.
Have you ever seen a pregnant woman smoking? Were you tempted to say something?
Photo Source: Morgue Files