The risks of smoking while pregnant really do not need to be explained to any future mother to be. It is a well known fact that the use of tobacco products, drugs or alcohol while pregnant can lead to many complications during birth, increase the risk of a child being born with defects or even lead to a miscarriage.
Recently, while attending a meeting hosted by the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network (WAATPN), I discovered that the State of Wisconsin’s Pregnancy and Risk Assessment Monitoring System, also known as PRAMS, reported that between the years 2007 and 2011, 26% of the 5,400 mothers who participated in the survey smoked whiled pregnant. Of that 26%, 9% quit smoking, 6% reduced the amount that they smoked and 11% smoked just as much, if not more than they did before becoming pregnant.
The numbers from this study were startling and disappointing. If 26% of the 5,400 smoked while pregnant, that means 1,404 innocent children were put in danger. Yes, there was a 26% decrease, but the fact remains that mothers are still smoking while pregnant.
As a community we need to encourage each other to be healthy and provide a healthy environment for our children. An environment full of smoke and other toxins is not a healthy one. If people do not know the risks, they need to be educated. Smoking while pregnant suggests a lack of care and concern for the child.
This Mother’s Day, I present this challenge to all mothers-to-be. If you don’t want to quit smoking for yourself, please consider quitting for the health of your unborn child.
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