Is It Safe To Vape While You’re Pregnant?
Can vaping hurt an unborn baby? Is vaping safer than smoking real cigarettes? Does vape even have nicotine in it?
Because so many young people vape, there’s a lot of confusion around its safety. It’s good that you’re asking questions and doing research to figure out what’s safe and healthy for you and your baby during pregnancy.
First, if you’re not sure whether vaping is dangerous or safe, unhealthy or not a big deal – you’re not alone. According to a big study by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it seems that a lot of women assume vaping isn’t a big deal and continue vaping during pregnancy. Some women stop smoking regular cigarettes during pregnancy and start vaping because they think e-cigarettes are safe and will help them quit smoking. So these women are trying to be healthier and take care of themselves and their babies. Unfortunately, the idea that vaping is a healthier alternative to cigarettes is a misconception.
So let’s look at some common questions about vaping and sort out fact from fiction. This way, you can make informed decisions about what’s best for you and your baby.
What are e-cigarettes? Electronic cigarettes can come in a lot of different forms. But no matter the specifics, the general idea is the same: there is a liquid that contains nicotine, flavorings, and some other chemicals, and there is a battery-powered part that heats that liquid into a vapor that the user breathes in.
Do vape pods have nicotine? Yes. JUUL pods and e-cigarettes don’t have tobacco, but they do have nicotine.
Is nicotine safe for pregnancy? According to the CDC, nicotine is a danger during pregnancy. Nicotine can damage a baby’s developing brain and lungs. Not only is nicotine not safe for a developing baby, but it’s also not safe for the woman either. Nicotine is known to be highly addictive. It increases blood pressure and heart rate and narrows the arteries, putting users at a greater risk for heart attacks. Nicotine can lower immune response, making you more likely to get sick or making it more difficult for you to fight sickness. It can cause gastrointestinal problems and is believed to put users at higher risk for cancer and make cancers more likely to be fatal.
So no, nicotine isn’t safe for people who are pregnant – or for people who aren’t pregnant.
What other chemicals are in vape liquid? Vape juices contain a variety of different chemicals. Some of those include –
Formaldehyde – can cause irregular heartbeats and loss of red blood cells
Acetaldehyde – has been associated with the risk of cancer
Acetone – it’s what you use to take off nail polish or gel nails – associated with headache, low blood pressure, coma
Butanol – a solvent – butanol poisoning can cause vomiting and unconsciousness
Propylene glycol – it’s in antifreeze, paint solvent, fog machines
Acrolein – a weed killer which causes irreversible lung damage
Benzene – a compound found in car exhaust
Diacetyl – the chemical that causes what’s known as “popcorn lung”
Can vaping help you stop smoking? There’s really no evidence that vaping helps people stop smoking. Consuming nicotine continues the nicotine addiction and continues the health risks associated with nicotine. There are other ways to help you stop smoking that have proven effective — individual, group, or telephone counseling and some FDA-approved medications. If you smoke cigarettes and want to stop, talk to your healthcare provider about healthy ways to stop smoking.
If you quit smoking or vaping cold turkey, will your baby have withdrawals? No. Medical professionals do not see nicotine withdrawals in babies as they do with drugs like heroin. There is also no indication that a mother’s withdrawals from nicotine hurt the baby in any way. Stopping cold turkey is healthier for the baby than the continued use of nicotine.
Does second-hand vape affect a person the same way second-hand smoke does? Yes. Breathing in the vapors from e-cigarettes exposes the mother and baby to nicotine and all the chemicals in the juice.
What problems can nicotine/vaping cause during pregnancy? Because vape liquids contain nicotine, any problems associated with nicotine use during pregnancy are also associated with vaping during pregnancy. If you vape, you’re more likely for any of these things to happen:
Ectopic pregnancy – when the fertilized egg grows in the wrong place, not in the uterus
Miscarriage – though miscarriage can happen for many reasons and often isn’t the related to any choices the mother makes, smoking/vaping during pregnancy can increase the risk of a miscarriage
Premature delivery – smoking/nicotine use makes it more likely for a baby to be born prematurely, which increases the chance of a baby’s stay in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)
Low birth weight – nicotine use during pregnancy has been associated with lower birth weights, which could result in complications for the baby
Birth defects – related to improper lung and brain development resulting from the exposure to nicotine and other chemicals
Vaping is not safe or healthy at any time, but it especially isn’t safe during pregnancy. E-cigarettes or vape pens are not a healthy tool to stop smoking cigarettes. Any nicotine use during pregnancy is not good for a mother or a baby.
If you smoke or vape and you want to stop, call your healthcare provider and ask for resources to help you quit. If you don’t have a healthcare provider yet, call us and we’ll connect you to the resources you need. The idea of quitting a habit like smoking or vaping can be overwhelming and intimidating, but you don’t have to do this alone. We’re here to support you.