Betty is smoking ad drinking during her pregnancy. What are the risks? For smoking, the risk of preeclampsia is actually lower, but all other risks are high:
women who smoke are about twice as likely to experience complications such as placenta previa…
Risk for having a baby in the smallest 5% to 10% of birth weights is as high as 2.5 times greater for pregnant smokers.
Post-partum risks include SIDS:
women’s smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of pregnancy complications, premature delivery, low-birth-weight infants, stillbirth, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Risks of alcohol use are not as clear. Moderate drinking is hotly debated. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is something that occurs only when there’s excessive drinking, but no one is sure how much is too much.
Some experts say moderate drinking during pregnancy is okay, but there are others who believe taking even one drink is like playing Russian Roulette with your baby’s health.
What about horseback riding?
Horseback riding is a great sport, but not always such a great one to perform during pregnancy…If you’re riding slowly on flat terrain with little risk of falling (either you or the horse!), then I’d say it’s probably fine for you to continue until the middle of your second trimester. If you’re riding at a fast pace on hilly and/or rocky terrain, which increases your and your horse’s risk of falling, I’d say that riding, particularly after the first trimester, is probably not a great idea. Of course, it goes without saying that jumping is not a recommended activity at any point in your pregnancy.
Our mother (because, y’know, Roberta and I are sisters) smoked during all four of her pregnancies. She doesn’t much drink, so maybe there was a glass of wine somewhere once. And she doesn’t ride horses. But we survived.
Statistical risks are just that: Statistical. Lower birth weight may be just statistical: 6 lbs versus 6 1/2, or it may be “low birth weight,” an actual medical condition. But if no one is focusing on the risks of smoking during pregnancy, then if there’s a complication, the Drapers will think of it as just the tragic luck of the draw.