|If you're pregnant and you absolutely had to vape (or else you're going to die), only vape e-juice flavors that have zero to low levels of nicotine. This minimizes your exposure to nicotine and also protects your unborn child from absorbing too much of the chemical.|
Look at the image above. I found that image through a Google image search for "vaping during pregnancy" photos I could use. It promotes vaping as a generally safe option for expectant mothers. Whether vaping is "relatively harmless to unborn babies" or not remains to be seen.
|Just Vape Without Nicotine (Image via Whisper)|
How Should Pregnant Woman Vape?
This purported benefit from using e-cigarettes seems too morally vague for me to accept. Yet, I also acknowledge there's minimal risk involved when the pregnant woman vapes only e-juices that have zero to low levels of nicotine. This could be the right setup for a woman who's been receiving counseling, psychotherapy, and drug treatments for smoking cessation. She might want to continue with her nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) despite being pregnant.
However, there's a possibility that traces of nicotine and its metabolites might find their way into the mother's bloodstream, and could cause fetal injury to her unborn child and it could lead to neurodevelopmental abnormalities and malformation of limbs.
Strictly Prohibited: No Smoking and No Vaping During Pregnancy
Most e-juice bottles prominently display health risk warnings on their product labels. Pregnant women and mothers who are lactating and breastfeeding are advised not to use the product because it has nicotine, which can "cause birth defects or other reproductive harm."
The women of Vaping Views have the same idea:
Nicotine is released into your bloodstream and like caffeine, will affect your baby. So the soundest answer is to avoid nicotine and caffeine altogether when you're pregnant.
The best advice we can give is to wean yourself off of nicotine as quickly as possible when you know you’re pregnant. Doctors who might even prescribe Zyban or Champix would likely not prescribe it to a pregnant woman (at least we hope not!).
Both the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the U.S. Public Health Service Clinical Practice Guidelines (2008 Update) strongly advise pregnant women to commit to a "no smoking, no vaping" policy throughout their pregnancy. That rule also applies to the spouse, family members, and friends of the expectant mother.
Don't Forget to Consult Your Physician Before You Start Vaping
Many women are misled into thinking that it's okay for them to vape while pregnant because of the commonly-held belief that the vapor produced by an e-cigarette is generally safe to inhale compared to tobacco smoke. Expectant mums who wanted to vape should first consult their Ob-Gyn physician and their smoking cessation therapist about the possible health risks.
Phelan and Mahoney also emphasized in their article that key safety information about e-cigarette use during a pregnancy should be discussed in depth by the Ob-Gyn doctor with the expectant mother in prenatal counseling.
It should be emphasized to patients that the use of any nicotine-containing products during pregnancy is potentially harmful for a developing fetus (Table 2). Abstinence from nicotine use is the safest action. If a patient does not choose abstinence, the next-safest choice is the use of a measured amount of nicotine without additional chemicals.
All of the research done on the efficacy of nicotine replacement therapy among pregnant women produced mostly inconclusive results. At present, there haven't been any studies that clearly showed positive effects of NRT have been observed in pregnant women. The pregnancy in itself is a strong motivating factor for the women to quit smoking. Because pregnant women metabolize the nicotine in their bodies at a faster rate than usual, they would require a higher daily dose of nicotine to produce a significant result compared to the low-nicotine patch or gum that's typically recommended for use in NRT.