Vaping and Pregnancy
Is Vaping While Being Pregnant Safer than Smoking?
Every pregnant woman is aware that smoking is harmful to the fetus, and therefore, as soon as they find out they are pregnant, the first thought is that they have to quit smoking. However, this might sound easier than it actually is. Along with the FDA- approved smoking cessation products, such as nicotine patches, some women turn to the e- cigarettes. But are they safe for the fetus? The reason why there are not enough studies regarding vaping during pregnancy is the ethical issue. A scientist can not simply expose pregnant women to vapor and risk the damaging effects to the baby.
According to Selina Baeza- Loya and associates, women perceive vaping during pregnancy less harmful than smoking. The authors claim that is the reason why e- cigarettes can be even more dangerous to the fetus due to increased intake of nicotine.
Although there are not enough studies about vaping and pregnancy, some scientist came to the conclusion that it can have a negative impact on the lab mice. According to Professor Zelikoff, mice whose mothers were exposed to vapor during their pregnancy showed the difference in brain activity and sperm count compared to mice from the controlled group. The study showed similar results even when nicotine was removed from the vapor. This indicates that even e-cigarettes without nicotine can be harmful to the fetus.
Dr. Tim McAfee from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention claims that smoking during pregnancy causes impairment of the fetal brain and lungs according to another animal study.
What are Consequences of Vaping during Pregnancy
According to Spindel and McEvoy, vaping during pregnancy may cause childhood wheezing and asthma. Nicotine is harmful to the baby whether it comes from the vapor or cigarette smoke.
Additionally, nicotine and other smoking byproducts cause low birth weight, premature birth, and even perinatal death. The devastating information is that almost 50% of women continue to smoke when they find out they are pregnant. The same study brings the conclusion that vaping in pregnancy is as dangerous as smoking when it comes to lung impairment and sudden infant death syndrome.
Another major concern regarding vaping during pregnancy is the potential craniofacial defects of the baby.
Other risks of vaping during pregnancy include:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Placental abruption
Children whose mothers used to smoke during pregnancy are at higher risk of developing asthma, colic, mental health problems, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder later in life.
The one thing every doctor agrees about is that you should avoid all nicotine products if you are pregnant. That includes regular cigarettes, e- cigarettes, vaporizers, nicotine patches, and other smoking cessation products that contain nicotine.
Another important issue to address is second-hand smoke which can also be dangerous to pregnant women and their babies. Make sure that the room you stay in is smoke-free.
Additionally, if you are planning to get pregnant, keep in mind that nicotine has a negative impact on sperm’s motility, and it also lowers sperm function.
When it comes to female fertility, it is proven that nicotine causes an irregular menstrual cycle, spontaneous abortion, and delayed conception.
If you are pregnant or trying to get pregnant make sure to understand that “safer” does not mean safe. Vaping might be a better option than smoking regular cigarettes because it does not contain as many toxic substances. However, vape juice does contain nicotine that has negative effects on the fetus. It can even cause premature birth, sudden infant death syndrome, and brain impairment.
If you have troubles with quitting smoking seek professional help. Your doctor can help you create a plan how to get rid of this nasty habit, whether it is by using some of the FDA-approved smoking cessation products or counseling.