Pregnant Smokers Beware: Carbon Monoxide Testing Will Catch You

No Smoking Sign
Just say "no" to smoking while pregnant 
In the U.K., The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence is suggesting that all pregnant women be given a carbon monoxide test to find out if they have been smoking.

If it goes through, every woman would be given a breath test during her first prenatal appointment and would then be guided toward smoking cessation programs if she was discovered.

The idea has some up in arms. Namely, some midwives who felt it would encourage guilt.

But everyone knows smoking is bad during pregnancy. It puts the baby at risk for all kinds of health problems, including respiratory issues, stillbirth, and newborn death later. In short, don't do it.


I am all about free choice, but putting your newborn's life at risk so you can take a (many) drag(s) is just inexcusable. Period. You might as well forgo a car seat and let your baby sleep on an old pile of cushions, so yes, I think mothers ought to be tested and counseled on quitting.

And they probably should feel "guilty" if they are making no effort to quit.

It's not politically correct to be judgemental and I hate those sanctimommies who come up to me at the playground and tell me that my baby should have an extra sweater or tsk-tsk at my choice in footwear, but come on now. We have known for years that smoking is bad and while I am loathe to suggest that a woman cannot do as she pleases with her own body, she simply cannot smoke on a regular basis while she's with child.

Puff away (while outside) after you give birth. See if I care. But please protect your fetus's developing lungs while he/she is still inside you.

Unlike alcohol, which is a gray-ish area, regular smoking does real, tangible, proven, permanent damage to an unborn child. And no matter how much I want to support free choice, I cannot agree with the decision to continue to smoke throughout a pregnancy. So I say test away. If it saves one child from severe respiratory issues, then it's well worth it.

Do you think the test is fair or an infringement on a pregnant woman's rights?


Image via Xurble/Flickr

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