A 25-year-old woman who smoked her way through her first pregnancy has spoken of her guilt after learning of the dangers her habit posed to her unborn daughter.
New Zealand mother Dayna Allen – who smoked at least 10 cigarettes a day for 10 years – fell pregnant to her daughter Kayla at the age of 19.
But just hours after her birth, the little girl was hooked to a ventilator for her respiratory system after she struggled to breathe.
Dayna Allen (pictured) who smoked her way through her first pregnancy has spoken of her guilt after learning of the dangers her habit posed to her unborn daughter
‘It was terrible. I felt so guilty,’ Ms Allen told NZ Stuff.
But despite cutting back on the cigarettes, she saw the damage caused to her placenta after it was ‘covered in small black spots’.
‘It does go to show you that even a little bit still has an impact,’ she said.
‘You don’t actually understand until it happens to you… I was in that habit and that addiction so much that you’re just like, oh, well.’
Despite her baby’s condition, Ms Allen said she now feels lucky that her ‘diva daughter’ is a healthy five year old girl.
The young mother – who is currently seven months pregnant with her second baby – has been smoke-free for five months.
‘Just seeing the impact that it had on her, I felt really guilty for what I’d done for my daughter and I didn’t want to do that to this one,’ she said.
The young mother – who is currently seven months pregnant with her second baby – has been smoke-free for five months
WHAT ARE THE EFFECTS OF SMOKING WHILE PREGNANT?
Every time a pregnant woman smokes a cigarette, it cuts down oxygen to her unborn baby and exposes the baby to a cocktail of chemicals, including chemicals that cause cancer.
Some of the many damaging effects of cigarette smoke on the fetus include:
- reduced oxygen supply due to carbon monoxide and nicotine
- retarded growth and development
- increased risk of cleft lip and cleft palate decreased fetal movements in the womb for at least an hour after smoking one cigarette
- impaired development and working of the placenta
- changes in the baby’s brain and lungs
Source: Better Health
Ms Allen started smoking when she was 15 years old because she thought it was a ‘cool thing to do’ with her friends after school.
After several attempts to ditch the 10-year habit, the woman turned to Once and For All – an initiative that helps smokers through the quitting process.
‘The hardest thing for me about quitting was the triggers and the habits,’ she said in a video about her journey on the campaign’s Facebook page.
‘You have an argument with your partner, you go and have a smoke. You have a break at work, you go and have a smoke.
‘You have a cup of coffee, you have a smoke. [Quit coach] would tell us “stay away from your triggers, don’t have that one puff”.
‘Just having someone to be accountable to made it a lot easier, knowing someone relying on you to quit.’