Being a Parent - Being Pregnant and Smoking

by MuminBusiness

Most people know that smoking while pregnant is a bad idea but knowing it and quitting smoking are two different things.

Women! We carry life which is amazing. That life propels us into motherhood, ready or not and suddenly we are expected to become a Mom – a woman full of health and wisdom who easily gives up any vices if by some chance, she has any.

Of course, if you are reading this, I am sure you are the epitome of motherhood but if you happen to have a fault or two then read on and lets consider if it is worthwhile to get paid to give up any of our issues.

Becoming a Parent

Recognizing our Selfishness

Unfortunately, a lot of pregnant women will find that they are not as perfect as they would like to be.  They still eat as much, if anything, They want to eat more (eating for two?).  They still do no exercise unless they were gym freaks, in which case they are too tired to do as much exercise.  We all know these feelings if we have carried a child.

We have to carry on with our jobs which may already have been full of stress and yes, we have ideals of what we would like to be but sometimes we are unable to meet those targets.

We who were children and in some cases still are, have to become parents.

If that is not enough for you to take up a stress-relieving habit then I am not sure what is.

Really becoming a parent

Learning to be selfless

However, having said all this, can we in good conscience carry on smoking when carrying a child?  We have all heard the evidence; we know that babies born to a smoking mother are likely to be small and they are likely to have problems with their breathing and yet, if this is an ingrained habit.  It is incredibly difficult to stop.

I admit whenever I see a parent smoking around their kids, I cannot help but cringe and even worse when I see a pregnant lady smoking away.  But…who am I to judge?  I have never smoked so I do not know just how addictive it can be.  It might be as bad as my addiction to chocolate!

A Stop-Smoking Trial in the UK

Now there is news afoot in the UK of bribing compensating women who choose to give up smoking while pregnant and for the six months following birth.  Is that a good idea?

Our healthcare system is renowned but also a cash pit so it probably makes sense to a politician or economist to pay out £750 instead of the thousands that will pay for the health care of an ailing infant but…

Is it wise to compensate people who choose not to employ their will or is it the start of a new cycle of social support that results in more people trapped in a system that they cannot escape from? Why do for yourself something that the government will pay you to do without exerting yourself?

How far should the NHS go?  A lot of medical conditions can be prevented by eating a better diet.  Should people be paid to eat right as it might be more cost-effective to prevent obesity related diseases rather than treat them when (not if) they crop up?  Should the NHS become this overall master and determinant of people’s will to choose?

On the other side, the infants have no choice over which mother they are born to, so why should they bear the consequence of their mother’s inability to stop smoking.  If there is a way to stop the mothers and this includes bribery then how can we object – for the children’s sake?

I personally would hate to be paid to do what I should be doing for the health of my child and am uncertain as to whether it would work.  I cannot imagine giving up chocolate for a paltry £750 and how will I carry on after the novelty of the money wears off (the money is spent).

I suppose, we must wait and see how the trial works out. 

Should we compensate pregnant women to give up smoking?

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Statistics about Smoking and Pregnancy

  • Teenage Smokers are less likely to stop smoking when pregnant
  • Only a quarter of women that smoke succeed in giving up when they find out they are pregnant.  They would like to, but needless to say, it can be tough to quit smoking and probably more difficult if you are contending with early pregnancy as well.
  • Smokers from deprived backgrounds find it even more difficult to quit, usually because they are heavier smokers
  • A higher proportion of women stop in their first pregnancy than in any subsequent ones which makes sense too as if your child survived you smoking the first time, you probably feel any other children will survive it too.
  • Most ladies that smoke do not admit to it when asked by health professionals so they cannot even get the help that may be on offer to quit smoking. It is probably a shame-based response which is unfortunate.
Updated: 03/12/2012, MuminBusiness
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