Why would a pregnant women smoke and drink alcohol? Please give a description of reasons for smoking and alcoholism by pregnant women

Expert Answers
trophyhunter1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Some people are in denial and do not believe it can actually harm their developing baby. However, the alcohol does cross the placenta and can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, especially if the mother drinks in the earliest months of the pregnancy. As for smoking, it is shown to stunt growth of the fetus and also, the impurities the mother breathes in will be in her circulating blood and will also be transferred to her fetus. Unfortunately, alcohol and cigarrette smoking are both very difficult habits to beat and the mother may be unable or unwilling to kick her habit.

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It is due to the fact that both substances are addictive, and one kicks the need for the other, either physiologically, or psychologically. Often, when a person drinks, the kick of nicotine hits and they want to smoke. The reverse happens as well. Therefore, like the previous post said, it is not that pregnant women feel like doing that- but, pregant women who have already those substances in their body might feel the need to do it because of the reasons stated. Enclosed is a great side on nicotine and alcohol addiction.


stacyer eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that many women continue to smoke and drink alcohol during pregnancies due to long established habits that were well instilled before the woman became pregnant. Some women drink and smoke during the early stages of pregnancies because they may not realize they are pregnant. Unfortunately, research has indicated that smoking, drinking alcohol, and taking drugs have adverse effects on the developing fetus. Many women may be addicted to alcohol and smoking which makes giving up these habits difficult even during pregnancy.

marilynn07 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I think that most pregnant women probably smoked and drank alcohol before becoming pregnant. The condition of pregnancy may cause some to feel sick upon being around cigarette smoke. Pregnant women should avoid alcohol, drugs and smoking as a precaution to the unborn baby. There are some habits and addictions that are very difficult to give up. Many women give birth to crack or heroin addicted babies.

kevin0001 | Student

A pregnant woman might still smoke or drink alcohol when she is pregnant because she might be addicted. Smoking is very addictive and is very hard to quit once you start. She might have been smoking before she was pregnant which means she will be addicted even when being pregnant. As for alcohol, it can be the same that she is addicted to it.

melissa1106 | Student

A mother may smoke or drink while pregnant because it is a habit they already have. They may find it hard to kick and continue to do it even though they are endangering their unborn child. They may also do it to relieve stress or anxiety throughout the pregnancy but there are other ways that should be used. Under no circumstance should a pregnant women drink or smoke because it can severely damage the baby. 

atyourservice | Student

I would think it is an addiction, as it has been proven that smoking and drinking is both bad for the mother and the child. A mother would not want to hurt her child on purpose (at least some mothers dont) therefore the addiction is more likely to have overrule them, and they just wouldn't be able to stop themselves.

zumba96 | Student

To smoke or drink while one is pregnant is essentially a terrible idea. Not only can it harm the baby but it can also harm you. Doctors and others say it is best to stay away from drinking or smoking when pregnant. These destructive habits can affect the baby straight away since the baby is not only in the mother's womb but also directly connected to the mother. 

cheezea | Student

Not all pregnant women do so, but those who do are mostly those addicted to smoking and drinking alcohol, so even when they are having a baby, they continue doing so as it is a hard habit to kick. They may also be ignorant to the fact that doing so could harm the baby, or they are just heartless to not care. Smoking and consuming alcohol may also help in releasing the pain of being pregnant, so they use it as pain relievers.

alilion | Student

addiction..they can't help it and so greatly damages the baby.. which not good at all

raitu | Student

They are addicts....

Alcohols and smoking not good for babies...

ngyunhui | Student

It is not nessesary that all pregnant women smoke and take alcohol.


abrahamsilshe | Student

Just because they were addicted to them prior to pregnancy

meganmjh | Student

There is no reason. That's the problem- they have no rationale. Don't think. It's stupid.

gwynhwyfar | Student

One would like to think that once someone knows that their actions (whether drinking, smoking or even something like extreme sports or indulging in anger) are going to hurt an unborn baby or even family members, that they would stop doing those things.

Sadly, if such a thing is addictive, the state of being addicted is enough to make anyone disregard the health of others as well as their own. Aside from the mechanism of "Denial" (convincing onesself that the addiction is somehow alright), there are the often uncontrollable cravings for the substance that can overcome even the most well-intentioned addict, including those who have tried to stop drinking, smoking, using, etceter, via means such as rehab, AA and counseling.

Even if a pregnant woman manages to give up drinking or smoking, the odds of them being able to stay off the substance, regardless of help, are very slim. She might have a healthy baby but then go back to drinking, using or smoking and harm a child in many ways.

Knowing that, any woman who realizes she is an addict should avoid pregnancy at all costs. This is why availability of cheap or free contraception is so important.

britishrachel | Student

Based on my convictions, i would opinion-ate that they smoke as a result of depression and the stress of carrying the baby for months. but instead of them to take a positive decision that would be fruitful, they decide to turn to alcohols and cigarettes or whatever type of tobacco, thinking that its the best alternative that would make them feel better (which is absolutely wrong). and these would eventually deform the baby in the womb.

leayama | Student

People really like destroying their bodies so they drink alchol.  Please answer this yourself

fastestcar5601 | Student

because they go thru stress and they try to get rid of stress by doing drugs t


shweta12patel | Student

It is because of addiction and some who also got out of the habit crave to do that as pregnant women crave to do something they really want and that addiction and craving harms the foetus in the womb and some even die without being born and they stupid too.

bowerk | Student

Because they have no values and don't care about the child.

cheezea | Student

they have too much money so they are contributing to the economy :) other than that, there is nothing good... they are just brainless to harm themselves and their innocent child

snickel1 | Student

they dumb

mafulton | Student

because their bodies and minds are already addicted to it, so although they may love the baby inside of them, their bad habits over run their lives even if they dont want them to.

stephrwilson | Student
why do pregnant women smoke and take alcohol?

give discription of reasons for smoking and alcoholism by pregnant women

Addiction is a powerful force that will overtake the will of a human being. The addiciton is so powerful, it becomes the first priority of the human-no matter his or her station in life.  Sadly, when an addiction becomes this powerful, it is difficult to put the needs of self and others first-even when dealing with children.

gamingbeast14 | Student

They sometimes do it because they are in such pain and ciggerattes and alcochol help with the pain.  This is still not a good excuse for a pregnate lady to drink alcochal and/or smoke and pregnate women should never smoke or drink alcochol because of possible dammage to the baby.

she-chemist | Student

Вecause    they  do not have  brains.............

baw84 | Student

A lot of people smoke and drink during pregnancy because they are in denial of the harm it can cause to the baby.  It is also a very hard habit to break.  Some women do it just because they are very self centered and are not willing to make the life changes that becoming a parent require.

kc4u | Student

It is not that when a woman turns pregnant, she suddenly senses an urge to smoke and to consume alcohol. It is rather that a woman, addicted to smoking and drinking, often fails to give up those habits, and these habits may cause damages to the foetus in the womb. A man or a woman smoking and taking alcohol on regular basis is inviting his/her own health-hazards. But a pregnant woman is in double fault because she also endangers her yet to be born child. Her action is suicidal as well as homicidal.

krishna-agrawala | Student

It is quite true that smoking and consumption of alcohol by pregnant women is harmful for the unborn babies. Still some pregnant women smoke and consume alcohol during pregnancy. The reason for this is not any different from the reason why any person addicted to these habits continue to indulge in such habits.

For example, harmful effect of smoking on the smoker itself are well known. Still people continue to smoke. Similarly alcohol also has harmful effects, specially when taken in excess. Still many people continue to consume alcohol in excess and indulge in dangerous practices such as drunken driving. Primary reason for all such behavior is addiction.

IT is not as if pregnant women take up to smoking and drinking during pregnancy. Usually pregnant women try to cut down on their smoking and drinking during pregnancy, some women may not succeed very well in their efforts. Also there may be some who are ignorant of ill effects of such addiction, or do not fully realize its implication.

dominion | Student

I would think some pregnant women smoke and drink alcohol because like every habit it is hard to kick, for some women it's part of their social circle or the social class which they come from. It may also be down to lack of education, they simply don't know the harmful effects these habits have on their unborn child. Until it was scientifically proven that alcohol and smoking were potentially harmful for an unborn childs health, many women continued to smoke and drink through their pregnancies. Of course there is always that small group that simply couldn't care less about what potential birth defects or long term health problems their harmful habits may have on their child.

udonbutterfly | Student

If this women was an alcoholic before she became pregnant she would start to have withdrawals made worse by pregnancy. The pregnant women may even come to the point where their addiction is more important than the baby that is growing inside of the.  Also those smoke cigarettes will also have a difficult time made worse by pregnancy especially with hormones and cravings becoming higher and going crazy. Some bow down to cravings.