Pregnant smokers prone to depression

This was an interesting study that I read about that really wasn’t about how depression affected significantly more pregnant women than non-pregnant, but rather a link between the reason why a (too) high percentage of women smoke when pregnant, despite knowing about the health risks they are putting on their fetus and on themselves.

It is suggested that the reason many of these women are not quitting while pregnant even though that is the “socially acceptable” thing to do and the physically more healthy thing to do, is an underlying tendency toward depression.  This is being studied, because physicians would like to be more able to help these women with their underlying depression and have them want to quit smoking instead of feeling forced into it.  If they feel less depressed, they most likely will not want to smoke as badly.

People want to quit, but the physiological effects of smoking withdrawal are often too intense for them to go all the way with it and see it to the end. Also, many end up picking the smoking habit back up when they feel stressed or anxious or tired, thinking that it will help them better cope with these feelings, although in the end, they actually shoot themselves in the foot and it exacerbates these types of symptoms.

Most women who become pregnant are educated about the risks they are putting their child at by smoking.  Risks for fetuses and babies include low birth weight, a risk of miscarriage, and it has also been linked to many behavioral and learning disorders as well, although it is not clear exactly how smoking causes this, it is just statistically higher in children born to smoking mothers, who smoked while pregnant with the child.

The whole purpose of these findings is to help women quit smoking who are pregnant, but may not be otherwise able to quit on their own, because they really feel that they can’t quit.  Depression is definitely a confidence zapper, and it adds to the fact that these women think they need cigarettes to cope with their anxieties and stressors, and it really is just making it worse., Bangalore India

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