…And Researchers Say STOP ‘Shaming’ Pregnant Smokers Educate Them Instead!
Smoking during pregnancy has risen slightly in the UK however a new study adds to the clinical argument that vaping is far safer for both mother AND the unborn baby’s health.
Before we dive into the article I’ll point out from the start that in an ideal world moms to be wouldn’t vape or smoke. However this is the real world and as researchers found it is women from lower income groups that tend to smoke throughout pregnancy – and rather than demonizing their choices they need help and “empathy”.
To back up the claim vaping is safer than smoking whilst pregnant a new study from the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland [RCSI] shows the use of e-cigarettes during full term pregnancy DOES NOT lead to low birth weight or indeed premature deliveries.
This marries perfectly with what I reported on a couple of years ago where midwives here in the UK whilst accepting vaping during pregnancy isn’t 100% safer than smoking – suggested moms to be who can’t quit lit tobacco should try e-cigarettes. That advice came in the form of a leaflet produced by the Smoking in Pregnancy Challenge Group – a collective of health professionals – that concluded:
However, if they (pregnant women) choose to use an electronic cigarette and this helps them to quit and stay smoke-free, it is safer for both them and their unborn baby than continuing to smoke.
Read my full article: Vaping When Pregnant – Report For Midwives On E Cigs As A Smoking Alternative for more info.
Pregnant Women Smoking In ‘Secret’ Due To ‘Shaming’
Cardiff University researchers found that many pregnant smokers were doing so behind closed doors to avoid public shaming. And despite UK midwives suggesting vaping is safer one woman reported being ‘judged’ by strangers whilst using an e-cigarette in public. Yet another case of more education is needed on the benefits and safety of vaping being made to the wider public.
Indeed you can actually thank the negative press vaping has received over the years which as I’ve said time and time again is putting people’s lives – of all ages – at risk.
Of greater concern is the belief among those that took part in the study that smoking in private whilst pregnant was acceptable. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand smoking is indeed extremely dangerous to the unborn foetus – see what the NHS has to say about that HERE.
The Welsh study looked at the 10 pregnant women from a ‘deprived’ part of South Wales. All of the women said they had ‘awkward’ relationships with health practitioners particularly midwives when it came to discussing their need to carry on smoking during their pregnancy. And pretty much all of them said the advice given to them was often extremely ‘judgemental’.
Hardly the best way to advise often young frightened women who – according to the study – see a cigarette as a ‘coping method’.
One of the researchers Dr Aimee Grant said:
Moral judgements are commonly directed towards mothers through reference to health behaviour in pregnancy, and working-class mothers are particularly subject to this criticism, ignoring the challenges of living on a low income.
Our study shows that these looks and comments – including by members of the public – irritate and alienate pregnant women, making them less likely to seek help. No one wants to be judged and shamed.
And co researcher Dr Dunla Gallagher said:
Pregnant women are no longer seen as their own person and stigma arises where other people feel that pregnant women should be able to focus all their energy and priorities on the baby that they carry, rather than their own needs. However, for these women their primary goal is often just getting by on a very low income, which is no mean feat, and smoking was a coping strategy for some of the women.
Rather than stigma, women need empathy and a recognition of the challenges that pregnancy can bring in terms of women’s independent choices.
Read an abridged version of the study: Demonisation of smoking and drinking in pregnancy can prevent cessation
No Vaping Does NOT Lead To Premature Or Underweight Babies
In what’s believed to be the first study of the effects of e-cigarettes on the unborn child medical researchers from the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland have found vaping in no way leads to premature births or indeed low birth weights.
The three doctors studied 129 moms to be and found that:
Infants born to users of electronic cigarettes had a mean birth weight of 3482g (+/- 549g), which was similar to non-smokers (3471g +/-504g, p=0.75) and significantly greater than that of smokers (3166g +/- 502g, p=0.001).
Mean gestation at delivery was similar in electronic cigarette users, non-smokers, and smokers (39.3, 39.8, and 39.3 weeks respectively).
The mean birth centile of electronic cigarette users was similar to non-smokers (51st centile vs. 47th centile, p=0.28) and significantly greater than that of smokers (27th centile, p=0.00001). There were no cases of serious maternal morbidity.
Delivery outcomes including need for induction, mode of delivery, perineal trauma and post-partum hemorrhage were all similar to those of non-smokers, as were admission rates to the SCBU/NICU. There were no cases of neonatal respiratory distress syndrome.
You really can’t be clearer than that – pregnant women that vape have almost identical pregnancies and births to none smokers.
The research concluded:
The use of electronic cigarettes in pregnancy is not associated with low birth weight or preterm delivery. Both maternal and neonatal outcomes appear to be similar to non-smokers. To our knowledge, this is the first prospective study on the relationship between electronic cigarette use and maternal and fetal outcomes.