Letter: Smoking while pregnant is bad

From: Kylee Jones


My life changed 12 1/2 years ago from what I thought was perfect to an intertwining web of grief and guilt. My son was born stillborn. I couldn’t fathom what had gone wrong. I did everything I was supposed to do and read every book that I was supposed to read. Still at 26 weeks my son was born weighing 1.7 pounds and was 12 inches long.

Though I am not a smoker nor did I smoke during my pregnancy, there are women who do smoke. Mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to deliver their babies early, causing a birth defect. Preterm delivery is a leading cause of death, disability and disease among newborns. The earlier a baby is born, the greater the chances for serious health problems or death. Premature babies can have: low birth weight, feeding difficulties, breathing problems right away, breathing problems that last into childhood, cerebral palsy (brain damage that causes trouble with movement and muscle tone), developmental delays (when a baby or child is behind in language, thinking, or movement skills), and problems with hearing or eyesight. Even worse, babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy or who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

October is Pregnancy Loss and Infant Loss Awareness month. What a better month to quit using tobacco products. I never thought I would be in this club, and I do not want anyone else to have to belong to it. From a mother who lost her son, please think of your baby and put down your cigarettes. I want you to be able to hold your baby and look him in the eyes and tell him that you did this for him. I would give anything to be able to hold my son again. You still can, and you can quit.

For free help quitting, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW. Your number one supporter is counting on you.