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Pregnant Women Smoking To Make Smaller Babies For Easy Birth?

Smoking to make childbirth easier?

Women still smoke during pregnancy. In fact, this nutter recently said smoking while pregnant was good for her baby because it made her unborn daughter’s heart stronger by restricting her oxygen supply and forcing her hear to work harder.” Seriously, someone should just go ahead and revoke her parenting license right now. Nothing good will come of her being a parent.

So yeah. Pregnant women smoke. We’ve all seen them do it and we’ve all been offended, but what’re ya gonna do? Now, as Stephen Adams of The Telegraph reports, some women are doing it to have smaller babies and therefore have an easier birth.

Professor Nick Macklon of Southampton University says “It is important that people who believe that a smaller baby means an easier birth take into account the increased risk of complicated deliveries in smokers, as well as the risk of disease later in life which goes with low birth weight…Smoking during pregnancy is not just bad for the mother and baby, but for the adult it ill grow into.”

However, the article doesn’t mention any evidence that pregnant smokers are motivated by hopes of an easier labor. The idea of women smoking to avoid pain of childbirth has been brought up before although, again, I don’t see any hard evidence. And who’s going to admit that to anyone anyway? I’m thinking most pregnant women are seriously addicted and have a hard time stopping. It seems a big leap on the professor’s part to assume that women who smoke while pregnant are doing it on purpose to have smaller babies.

Margaret Hartmann, from Jezebel.com agrees, saying “Many studies show that exposing babies to cigarette smoke in utero is a horrible idea, but accusing pregnant smokers of being too vain and stupid to want a healthy-sized baby doesn’t help.”

However, it’s worth telling smokers who eventually want to have children that smoking while pregnant doesn’t just make you more likely to miscarry, have the baby prematurely or give birth to an underweight baby. A new study links birth defects to smoking while pregnant. As The Guardian reports, the study finds those who smoke while expecting a baby increase the risk of their child being born with a serious malformation by as much as 50%.

Doctors are urging mothers-to-be to give up cigarettes after new research links smoking in pregnancy to babies born with clubfoot or missing and deformed limbs. Authors of the study say their paper “the first comprehensive review to identify the specific birth defects most associated with smoking.”

They reviewed 172 research papers published in the past 51 years covering 174,000 cases of birth defects. They concluded that for women who smoke while pregnant “the risk was increased by 26% for having a baby with missing or deformed limbs, 28% for clubfoot, 27% for gastrointestinal defects, 33% for skull defects, 25% for eye defects and 28% for cleft lip/palate.”

The biggest increase in risk was for their baby having a birth defect called gastroschisis, in which part of its stomach or intestines protrude through the skin.

Researchers say an alarming number of women under the age of 20 are smoking while pregnant. I’ve seen several pregnant, young girls smoking. I’ve never said anything, though. I mean, what can you say? Even though it’s harming a life nothing you say or do will change anything, right? Have you ever said anything to a pregnant smoker?

Image: Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images

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