Implications in Healthcare
Smoking has long been considered a lifestyle habit that leads to extreme health complications for women who are pregnant. Not only does smoking, and related tobacco use, place an infant at-risk for developing a complications during fetal development, but may also result in the premature birth and low birth weight.
While there are many health risks that your obstetrician may describe, in association to tobacco use during pregnancy, many expectant mothers are not familiar with the potential risks for their child developing clubfoot. While there is much debate over the causal relationship to tobacco use, women who are expecting a baby should avoid smoking and associated lifestyle habits so as to avoid any potential risk.
Each year, approximately one in 1,000 births results in clubfoot. In fact, it is considered one of the most common birth defects for children. While there is much debate over the cause and origin of clubfoot, most physicians believe it may be attributed to vascular insufficiency during pregnancy, intrauterine compression, and even neurological complications.
As an expectant mother, if you are subjecting your developing infant to tobacco products, or if you smoke, this may compound the incidence of these risk factors. As a general rule, there is believed to be two processes by which fetal development is affected by smoking. First, the fetus may develop hypoxia when subjected to smoking, ultimately leading to vascular breakdown during development and, secondly, the simple process of foot development may be halted when exposed to the chemicals in cigarettes.
Smoking, even as few as one to five cigarettes per day, can place your infant at-risk for congenital defects. If you are a woman who smokes, and you are expecting a baby, it is important to ask your doctor about the ways in which you can manage the cravings for tobacco so as to promote a healthier pregnancy outcome. Oftentimes, under the supervision of your obstetrician, you can succeed in a smoking cessation program and encourage healthy delivery of your infant.
Premature birth, low birth weight, cranial abnormalities and now clubfoot are all conditions that may be linked, in some part, to the use of tobacco during pregnancy. For women who smoke, these complications should be taken quite seriously and discussions about your smoking history should be considered with your OB/GYN healthcare professional. In doing so, you can reduce the risk for your child’s abnormal development, including the development of clubfoot or other anatomical complications.