A new mum has caused controversy by claiming her 45-a-day smoking habit during her pregnancy was actually “good” for her baby.
On BBC3’s shock real life show Misbehaving Mums-to-be, mum Charlie Wilcox, 20, claimed her smoking made “the baby use its heart on its own in the first place, so that when it comes out, it’s going to be able to do them things by itself.”
Smoking can cause a huge list of problems for both mum and baby. At a routine check-up during her pregnancy, the carbon monoxide levels in Charlie’s bloodstream were six times higher than what is considered safe for a baby. Her daughter Lilly was born 10 days early weighing 6lb 2oz, more than 1lb less than the average UK birth weight. Premature birth and low birth weight are both common in pregnancies where the mum smokes.
But despite potential problems for Lilly in the future, Charlie doesn’t think she should have quit or even cut back on the cigarettes.
“I wasn’t ready to give up smoking. I think if I’d given up straight away, the stress would have been more harmful to the baby,” Charlie said. “I love smoking. I love just having that something there to do.”
Charlie’s boyfriend and Lilly’s dad Shane Barker added, “At first I didn’t agree with Charlie smoking during her pregnancy. I heard all the speculation and gossip about what smoking does to the baby, so I was worried at first.”
But Shane was right to be worried as it’s hardly “speculation”. There are numerous medical studies providing evidence of smoking’s negative effects on babies even if they are born safely, from their sleep patterns and lung health to psychological and behavioral problems.