This week, on the BBC3's Misbehaving Mums To Be (a documentary series which follows a team of midwives working with pregnant clients who binge drink, chain smoke, and overeat) featured Charlie Wilcox, a 20-year-old woman who "loves smoking" and smoked 15 to 20 cigarettes a day throughout much of her pregnancy, which amounts to about 3,500 cigarettes total. She claims that smoking made her daughter Lilly's heart stronger by making it work harder. But reading more of the interview, it seems Charlie was just addicted to cigarettes and didn't feel like quitting.
"I think it was my right—and I don’t believe it was hurting Lilly," she said. "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."
Born 10 days premature, Lilly weighed just 6 lb 2 oz at birth, more than a pound less than the UK average. When she was pregnant, Charlie's carbon monoxide levels were tested and found to be six times higher than what is considered safe for a baby.
After Lilly's birth, Charlie has abstained from smoking around her. (What a health nut.) But that can't undo nine months of smoking for two. I hope to God Lilly is safe from asthma or heart defects in the future. Charlie claims worry about these things is nonsense, but moms: if you thought a habit might harm your baby even just a bit, wouldn't you try to nip it in the bud?
Do you think it’s ever okay to smoke when you're pregnant?