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Vaping While Pregnant
The dangers of smoking while pregnant are well documented. That’s why most women try to quit when they are planning to get pregnant or as soon as they realise they are pregnant.
But, quitting smoking is easier said than done. It’s an uphill battle that only a few win. To make the transition easier, some women consider vaping as an alternative.
However, vaping just recently got popular and as a mum-to-be, you want to be sure that vaping is good for your child. That’s why the question is vaping when pregnant is safe has become very popular in recent times.
In this article, you will find out all there is about vaping, e-cigarettes and pregnancy. It will help shed light on this and other alternatives that pregnant women should consider and which ones are recommended.
Is it Safe to Vape While Pregnant?
The damage that cigarettes can do to the health of a pregnant mother and the wellbeing of the child is common knowledge. Smoking can cause a variety of health issues, most of which are detrimental to the unborn child.
Vaping is touted as a safer alternative to people looking to quit smoking. This begs the question if it is also a safe alternative for expectant mothers.
The short answer is: We don’t know yet.
Vaping hasn't been around long enough for scientists to conduct the long-term effects vaping would have on pregnant women. There's also the ethical question regarding conducting such research on pregnant women and putting their babies at risk.
Considering nicotine is to blame for most of the effects that cigarettes cause to unborn babies, the concern about the safety of vaping when pregnant also extends to when vaping 0% nicotine while pregnant.
As much as there’s no conclusive research in both cases, scientists anticipate that vaping could also have some sort of adverse effects on the pregnancy. However, there's no certainty about the kind of negative effects that the different e-liquids can have on unborn babies.
Since scientists have not had enough studies on vaping and pregnancy, they have based their conclusion on the negative impact that vaping has on lab mice.
According to the research done, Mice born of mothers that were exposed to vapour during pregnancy showed different brain activity and sperm count compared to mice born from a controlled group.
The results of the study were the same even when nicotine was removed from the vapour. Based on these results, it’s possible that even e-cigs without nicotine might be harmful to the fetus.
What are the Consequences of Vaping during Pregnancy?
Some of the dangers that vaping might expose the unborn child to according to experts include wheezing and asthma.
Experts have also intimated that nicotine is harmful to the baby regardless of whether it comes from cigarette smoke or vaporisation. Nicotine and other by-products of smoking have also been previously blamed for causing low birth weight, premature birth and fetal death.
A study by the National Health Institute (NHI) also shows that vaping in pregnancy can cause lung impairment in infants and increase chances of sudden infant death syndrome to the same degree as smoking.
There other concern that experts have with vaping during pregnancy is the potential craniofacial defects that it can cause to the baby.
Other risks associated with vaping during pregnancy include:
- Increased risk of ectopic pregnancies
- Placental abruption
- Increased risk of miscarriage
The safest option is to quit altogether. But, that is extremely difficult and even experts can agree. During pregnancy, you should avoid all nicotine products. These include cigarettes, nicotine patches, vaporisers, e-cigarettes and other products that contain nicotine.
It’s also important to practice caution and avoid second-hand smoking which can be dangerous to pregnant women and their babies.
If you need assistance when quitting smoking, most healthcare professionals recommend that you opt for Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). NRT makes it easier to quit smoking than going cold turkey even though the latter is highly recommended.
Can Second-hand ‘Vape Smoke’ Cause Harm to Pregnant Women?
If you live in a household with other vapers, you have to be concerned about passive vaping. According to the studies so far conducted, there's no known risk of passive vaping to bystanders.
However, because studies on the effects of vaping and passive vaping have not been exhaustive, it’s best to practice caution. After all, wanting the best for your baby is every mother’s goal. It’s not unreasonable to open a window or ask the person to vape outside if it makes you feel uncomfortable.
If you’re thinking of parenthood or you’re already pregnant, it’s vital to understand that “safer” doesn’t mean safe.
Vaping might be a safer option compared to regular cigarettes but, that is not to mean that it doesn’t contain substances that might have negative effects on the fetus. Vaping can even cause premature birth or sudden infant death syndrome.
If you’re having problems quitting smoking, the best approach is to seek medical assistance from your physician. Your doctor can create a plan for you that will help you kick the habit with ease. In most cases, the products used in this case are approved with enough research that they will not harm you or the baby.