Wednesday, October 29, 2008


There was a post the other day on one of the pregnancy boards on WebMD from a husband of a pregnant woman. He said that his wife had had a very bad day and went out and smoked all evening. He wanted to know if the one night of smoking would hurt their baby or not.

I'm not going to say all the things that went through my head about this couple. Most of you know how I feel about this topic and I don't need to type it just to show how opinionated I am. But, this post did get me thinking about other people that I have known who have smoked while they were pregnant and the consequences they eventually reaped or didn't reap because of it.

I once worked with a woman who gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. She was a smoker, but she had quite when she found out she was pregnant with this child. She had two other boys before him who were all in okay health. There was some asthma problems, but other than that, they were healthy.

7 months later, the lady (I can't even remember her name) went to her doctor just to find out that she was 7 months pregnant with another child. Once she had had her son, she promptly went back to smoking and who knows what else so she had smoked throughout her pregnancy.

She didn't quit when she found out that she was 7 months pregnant. She just kept on doing exactly what she had been and didn't have the slightest regard to her baby's health. She also was devestated that she was pregnant. She didn't want another child and she would talk about how much she didn't want to be pregnant on a daily basis.

When this beautiful baby girl was born, she had a hole in her heart and she died 15 minutes after birth. The woman was devestated after the death of her child. She was depressed and she didn't cope well at all. It was hard to feel sorry for the lady. There is no doubt in my mind that her smoking caused her baby to die. Do you think she quit after that? Nope. She just went on her way crying, smoking and crying some more. I felt bad for the baby that didn't have a chance because of the choices her mother made. I didn't feel bad for the mother who hated her baby before she was born, but was quickly devestated after she died.

I know that this isn't always the case. There were two other women that I worked with at the same place who smoked during their pregnancies and their children are alive and healthy. But, is the risk worth it? I'm not one that subscribes to all the things the internet and books say you have to stay away from. I eat hot dogs and lunch meat. I use my face wash on a daily basis. But, it is hard to find hard evidence against doing those things. They haven't been researched fully and we can't believe every single little thing people say. Smoking and drinking during pregnancy have been researched and it is proven that they both can have adverse effects on a baby during gestation. It's not the case every time but, it's the case enough times that women should know better.

I know this blog is getting long, but there is one other thing I want to bring up. This woman was 7 months pregnant before she knew. How does that happen? There are many things that have changed with my body. I think I would have to be a complete idiot to not know something was up. There was another girl at this same workplace whose mother didn't know until she was 6 months pregnant. She had been having her periods every month like normal so she never thought about it (so she says). The thing that tipped her off was that she went to the beach one day and was sun bathing. She turned over on her tummy and felt a huge lump. She convinced herself that it was cancer. She went to the doctor and came out 6 months pregnant.

How is it possible that women don't know they are pregnant. I tend to think that they lie to themselves for months because they don't want to be pregnant. I can understand it more with the girl who had just had the baby. Your body is going through a transition afterwards that could mess cycles up and make you feel odd. She would have had to have gotten pregnant less than a month after the birth of her son. As for the one who just didn't know because her cycles were normal? I have the weirdest aches, twinges, and pains all the time. I am growing a belly even though I'm not gaining weight. I am hormonal all of the time. My breasts ache and are engorged. I don't have morning sickness and never did so I can see that not being a sign. Maybe I'm just more intune with my body because of the infertility and having to understand my body and analyzing every ache and pain. I just don't understand how they couldn't know there was SOMETHING up with their bodies. If the belly didn't clue them in, something else should have tipped them off to go to the doctor. By the way, the woman with the baby looked 7 months pregnant. I remember thinking that she was and wasn't telling anyone.

Okay, that's enough for now. Sorry I wrote a book. That topic has been weighing heavily on my mind all evening and morning so I wanted to type it out and get some comments about it. What do you all think? Am I wrong in thinking that their pregnancies should have been obvious?


Hollie said...

Good post Lisa. I agree with you on some points and disagree respectfully with others.

I will always feel sorrow for a mother who has lost her child, whether it's her fault or not. What if our lunch meat or hot dogs got us sick? Would it be our fault? Would we be deserving of sympathy? Of course.

I felt the same as you about not understanding how women could not know they are pregnant until 6-7-8-9 months, then I saw this show on TLC or Discovery Health called "I didn't know I was pregnant." All of the cases were understandable. The women had very irregular periods. One woman never had a period, then was having strange symptoms, even went to the dr more than once, and they never did a test, and she had twins! It helped me understand better.

About the smoking - I hate seeing a pregnant woman smoke. I used to enjoy a cigarette and a glass of wine to relax, but when I started ivf, that all stopped. I don't see how a woman can risk her baby, but I do know that addiction is real, and quitting is hard for some people. Some drs even tell patients that it's ok to smoke (crazy I know).

And lots of mothers don't feel close to their baby until after it is born. That's another thing I can't understand, but it happens. My cousin planned on putting her baby up for adoption, didn't buy any baby stuff or have a shower or anything, but after he was born, she couldn't give him up.

Just my thoughts. I do think that IF girls are more careful about what they do during pregnancy.

Earl Gearl said...

Hollie, I just couldn't feel sorry for her after all of the horrible things she said about her baby. I know that sounds super harsh, but it's the truth. Also, I was trying to make a distinction between the smoking and the hot dogs. Smoking is proven to be bad for your health. Hot dogs - not so much. But, it's just my opinion so take it for what it is worth.

Also, I understand about addictions, but there comes a time when you have to decide what is more important. Your cravings or your baby. I think people are selfish who don't quit. There is a girl where I work now that quit the day she found out she was pregnant. She wasn't a once in a while smoker, either. She was a pack a day for several years smoker so I know it's possible. Not fun I'm sure, but possible.

I heard about that show on TLC and I'm dying to see it! I just can't wrap my brain around not knowing that you're pregnant or that something is up for 7 months! I'm going to keep my eyes peeled for when it airs next!

I Believe in Miracles said...

A friend and I were talking about that today in the car -- whether we should give up a small cup of coffee in the morning during our ttc stage. Or a glass of wine on occasion. And yet we wonder about the mothers who smoke, drink, drugs, and goodness knows what else and have no trouble conceiving or staying pregnant. And yet those people who seem to do "everything right" still either don't get pregnant or the baby dies 2 months prior to birth or whatever... It's such a toss up. You may not agree with your friends (is she a friend) actions, and she may not agree with your opinions. But we are called to love one another as Christ loved us, and speaking to myself here too, sometimes it is hard to set aside differences or things we disagree on and love our neighbors. That's the big need for grace.

Sorry - didn't mean to be preachy

Earl Gearl said...

A small cup of coffee isn't proven to be harmful to baby. Smoking is. This girl wasn't a friend. Just a coworker. I understand that we are to love everyone, but that doesn't mean I have to like their actions.

Mainly a midwife said...

well I'll speak to the "how can you not know you are pregnant" question. It's called Denial. It's a strong and powerful motivator. I once took care of a 16 yr old (overweight) teenager who came through the ER complaining of "abdominal pain". ER transported her to labor and delivery saying that she was going to have a baby. The girl kept screaming her head off saying "I'm not pregnant, I'm not pregnant" right up until the head came out!
At that point there was no more denying it :)