Smoking while pregnant: the ultimate taboo
If you’ve turned on the radio or the television today, you’ve probably heard about the Chrissie Swan smoking scandal.
If you haven’t heard about it yet, here’s what you need to know: Chrissie Swan, Mix FM Radio Presenter and Can of Worms host was recently snapped by paparazzi smoking a cigarette. Sounds perfectly harmless, right? It might be, if she weren’t six months pregnant.
Chrissie reportedly tried to outbid the national women’s publications for the photos of her lighting up and was allegedly prepared to pay between $10,000-$53,000 to stop them being printed – but was outbid by Woman’s Day. Yesterday morning a distressed Chrissie Swan addressed the listeners of her Melbourne radio show, apologising for her actions and admitting that she had been struggling to quit smoking since she discovered she was pregnant with her third child.
In matters such as these, where people are aware of the damaging effects of their addictions but are facing the same difficulties as regular people who are battling an addiction, should they be allowed to make their own choices and not be reprimanded? Or should the public be allowed to vocalise their objections when a child is involved?
With the risk of miscarriage, higher risk of a premature baby, a low birth weight or respiratory complications such as asthma to consider, it can be difficult to sympathise with those who are seemingly doing the wrong thing – especially if you’ve never battled an addiction yourself.
Among the social media backlash Chrissie endured, there are some people who believe that people battling an addiction (pregnant or otherwise) should be supported, not ridiculed. Even though Chrissie has been singled out in this case, health advocates report that nine per cent of women smoke a month before giving birth. Ironically, this story does manage to open up a can of worms and it raises questions about abstinence in the lead-up to and during pregnancy. Are people who enjoy a glass of wine with dinner when they’re pregnant just as guilty, or is there a fine line we should all be made aware of?
How much should women abstain from during pregnancy? Do you think there should be more support for pregnant women trying to battle addictions – be it smoking, caffeine or even junk food?
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