Vaping While Pregnant: Why Do You Need to Avoid It?
Smoking is highly discouraged, especially for pregnant women. It is one of the leading causes of diseases as well as death. Most people, if not all, knows that smoking causes cancer, heart disease, lung disease, and other major health problems. Of course, pregnant women are not exempted. Smoking during pregnancy can cause certain birth defects, premature birth, and even infant death.
Nowadays, people use electronic cigarettes or commonly known as vapes as an alternative. Due to the rising and evident effects of smoking, it has become a touchy topic for pregnant women whether they can use a vape. Some people consider vaping as a safer alternative for pregnant females. Let us find that out as you keep reading.
Is Vaping During Pregnancy Safe?
Though some say vaping is safe for pregnant women, experts say otherwise. Electronic cigarettes (e-cigs) are not regulated. In other words, there is no official test done in order to check the safety of the product. Though the juices are deemed to be safe, you can’t be so sure what the components of the vapor are. This means, there could be chemicals coming from it that could harm your unborn child.
So, there is actually no difference whether you smoke tobacco or use an e-cigarette as an alternative. Since both of these methods are dangerous not only to your health but also to your unborn baby’s health. According to a study conducted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the vapors being produced by e-cigarettes can damage the nervous system of your unborn baby.
Aside from that, it was also cited that vaping can cause poor learning and memory. The researchers also found out that vapor smokes and tobacco smokes almost contain the same toxins. These include acid aldehyde, formaldehyde, and acrolein. Even if you are using juices with zero percent nicotine level, there are still changes that could occur. The changes they have observed mainly involves the brain, such as mental health disorders and brain activity problems.
What Are The Effects Of Vaping While Pregnant?
Thousands, even millions of people are switched to vaping because they believe that it is safer. As mentioned above, vaping while pregnant has actual effects. Just like the traditional way of smoking, vaping is still risky especially to pregnant women and babies. For the unborn child, you may not see the effects when they are born. However, as they grow older, the more portable risks and effects show up.
The possible impact of vaping during pregnancy will possibly be felt later in the child’s life. There are no scientific bases regarding the safety of using a vape while you are pregnant. Just like smoking, vapor chemicals have the capability to interrupt the development and gene activity of a certain part of the brain. It affects the mental functions which cause probable delays or bigger problems.
Even of you won’t use nicotine when vaping, the vapor still causes immense changes in the gene development. Just, it can affect long-term health, fertility, and development. Here are the possible effects of vaping while pregnant:
- Poor learning
- Poor memory and coordination
- Significant Increase in hyperactive behavior such as impulsiveness, easily distracted, inability to concentrate, fidgeting, aggressiveness, and constant moving
- Reduced sperm count of the baby
- Damaged sperm DNA
- High risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), miscarriage, or stillbirth
- Asthma or infant dyspnea
What Are The Components Of The E-cigarette Liquids?
Although it wasn’t yet fully identified what chemicals are there in the e-cig vapors, researchers revealed the obvious toxins produced. This has some similarity with the toxins from tobacco smokes. But in the juices, the components used seemed to produce unwanted toxins when burned.
E-cigarettes (e-hookah, vape pens, tanks, or e-pens) burn the nicotine producing vapor for the smoker to hit. Though it has no risk of tar or other carcinogenic chemicals, there is still no assurance that it is safe for your unborn baby. Just because it says that it has no nicotine content, doesn’t mean there is really zero nicotine.
In another study, the label of a product is not often reliable. At times, the written label does not guarantee the exact quantity that was used in the product. For instance, the label said it has zero nicotine but it turns out that there is still 5% of it in the product. It’s hard to predict, anyway, so people often do not care. In some cases, the vapors or juices was found out to have traces of cancerous toxins. Nicotine-free juices actually contained low levels of nicotine.
I have broken down and tried to explain each component of an e-juice (e-liquid) for better understanding. Note that there are still companies that do not administer these components in their e-liquid products. Take a look at the list below:
1. Propylene Glycol
Propylene glycol is a colorless liquid that absorbs water. It is used as an anti-freeze and moisture maintenance in food, medicines, and cosmetics. It is also used for food coloring and flavorings, paint, and plastics. This chemical is also used in the production of artificial smoke or fog. The FDA called this as an “addictive substance”.
Another component is the glycerol. Glycerol is a sugar alcohol that is used as a solvent, pharmaceutical agent, sweetening agent, and emollient.
Coffee, bread, and ripe fruits are the natural sources of acetaldehyde. There are also plants that produce this component. However, this chemical can be dangerous and carcinogenic when used externally and regularly. It also causes mental diseases and genetic conditions.
Acrolein is produced from burning organic matters like tobacco and fuels. This can be toxic to the human body when inhaled, exposed or swallowed. This chemical is cancerous to humans. Acrolein is used for the production of other chemicals, herbicide, and plastics.
Formaldehyde is an odorous and flammable chemical that is commonly used for the production of building materials and household products. It is also used in pressed-wood products, glues and adhesives, permanent press fabrics, insulation materials, and paper product coatings. Aside from that, it is also utilized as an industrial fungicide, germicide, disinfectant, and cadaver preservatives. This chemical increases the risk of cancer and health diseases.
As you already know, nicotine is a common component of an e-liquid as well as tobacco. It is believed that this makes the people addicted to the product. Nicotine is a highly addictive chemical that is used as an antiherbivore chemical, insecticide, and neonicotinoids. Although it has medical uses, nicotine is also dangerous and increases the risk of cancer.
For pregnant women, nicotine narrows the blood vessel disrupting the oxygen and nutrients flow in the placenta. It also increases the risk of obesity to the baby once it was exposed for a long time. Nicotine causes major problems to the unborn baby.
Nitrosamines are common in the production of cosmetic, rubber products, and pesticides. You can always see this in latex products like balloons, condoms, and other foods. Nitrosamines have been deemed to be 90% cancerous after the study conducted by two British scientists in 1956.
Why Should Pregnant Women Quit Smoking?
Electronic cigarettes vary in sizes, designs, and shapes. Most of these products use a battery, a heating device, and a cartridge that holds the liquid. Once the device burns the liquid, it produces an aerosol or what you call vapor. This is what users inhale.
Although this has fewer harmful substances compared to the cigarette smoke, it still contains chemicals that are unsafe during gestation. Quitting smoking provides a healthier atmosphere for your baby and it makes you feel better. Here are the reasons why you should quit smoking when you are pregnant:
- Even in just a day of not smoking, your baby receives more oxygen.
- Reduces risks of preterm birth
- Reduces risks of congenital diseases and infections.
- Reduces risks of developing major diseases like cancer, stroke, lung and heart diseases.
- Increases your chance of living a long life.
- Allows you to breathe more easily and be more energetic.
- The air and things around you will smell better.
- You can taste food better.
- Saves your money.
- You will feel relieve knowing that your baby is in a safe condition.
How To Avoid Vaping While Pregnant?
If you are a smoker but you got pregnant, it would be better for you to avoid smoking. The shifting to vapes as an alternative does not always work. Since vapes are not regulated, there is no assurance that you are doing well for your baby. Smoking and vaping should be discouraged, especially during your conception.
The risks of vaping must be avoided as early as possible. Although there are still on-going studies to prove the safety of this method, experts suggest that you give it a rest until proven. Many say smoking is addictive and stopping it is difficult. Oftentimes, you will feel withdrawal symptoms but since you are bearing another life within you, you have to endure it.
Most pregnant women rely on vaping after confirming their pregnancy. Since you are not that sure whether the product really does not have nicotine or it does, you better stick to other options aside from both smoking and vaping. Here are five ways on how to quit vaping or smoking while you are pregnant:
1. Cold Turkey Method
The cold turkey refers to the method when people quit smoking or vaping without other’s support. This simply means you are doing it on your own without prescribed medicine, aids, or therapy. However, only one out of ten people succeeded using this method. Since people experience withdrawal symptoms, it becomes difficult to just merely quit. To most, this method is a stern option. But if you have no other options left since it is a must, you have to try really hard.
2. Reduction Method
Reduction method simply means reducing the times you have vaped. This applies to non-pregnant individuals. But for you who are bearing a child, quitting is the first thing you must do. The reduction method is setting a plan to follow. Set a quit date and start achieving that date.
You should remind yourself that every day, you have to reduce the number of times you have vaped. Tell your family and friends that you are quitting; reduce the percentage of nicotine in your e-liquids or remove the ashtrays at your home or office. In every schedule you follow, the amount of nicotine must also be decreased.
3. Behavioral Therapy
This time, you need to seek help from a counselor. The counselor will help you plot out ways on how to quit your habit. At the same time, you will discover your “trigger” that often causes you to go back to what you were used to. It includes stress, emotions or certain situations. Afterward, you will plan how to overcome those factors.
This method usually involves the mental elements of the person. Usually, you can make a self-assessment if you can be able to surpass your emotional triggers. You have to convince yourself and focus on your primary goal entirely. Also, you have to stand firm amidst the temptation of addiction.
4. Nicotine Replacement Therapy
This therapy is a more recommended method for pregnant women rather than vaping. Most doctors advise this therapy as an alternative to vaping and smoking. The nicotine replacement therapy includes nicotine gums, lozenges, sprays, patches, and inhalers. You can get nicotine even without tobacco.
Before using this method, you must first seek your doctor’s advice. In some cases, they will also recommend you to take behavioral therapy along with the nicotine replacement therapy. Though the forms of this therapy are available over the counter, you still need to know the right way and method of using them. You don’t want to overuse it and make yourself ill, do you?
5. Natural Method
The natural method involves using non-addictive supplements to rule out the routine withdrawal. The medicines will help increase absorption as it quickly responds to the urges. There are also prescribed medicines available to help you quit smoking.
Aside from these methods, you can also combine both methods to increase your chances. For instance, you can have both nicotine gum and patch. You can also undergo behavioral therapy and nicotine replacement therapy while using nicotine patches. But first things first, you have to seek professional help to keep you going.
Pregnant women have different ways of quitting. If this tip works for a habitual smoker, it should be different for you. Especially that you are riskier to complications and danger. Smoking, vaping, and even the nicotine replacement therapy have their own impacts on health. So, it is still better to know and understand every factor affecting it.
Electronic Cigarettes And Your Pregnancy
Most of the times, we tend to forget the importance of life. Sometimes, we just ignore the things it is telling us. Pregnancy means a new life is developing. As a mother, you should know the value of that new life. It is better to prevent unwanted risks as early as possible.
While e-cigarette helps you to quit smoking tobacco, you should also be aware of the chemicals it could cause you. You cannot deny the fact that e-liquids also contain chemicals that are unnecessary to the human body. There are always harmful effects not only on you but more especially to the unborn child inside you.
Thus, vaping during pregnancy is not different to smoking. It is safer for you to avoid all forms of tobacco use. E-cigarettes still need more safety testing to prove its possible effects on the human body. Since this is not recommended for the pregnant females, secondhand smoking during pregnancy is also explicitly dangerous to you and the growing baby.