Pregnant Teens Are Doing This HORRIBLE Thing To Reduce Baby Size

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Pregnant teenage girls smoking to reduce birth weight
Buzz, Family

Shocking new trend among pregnant teenagers.

Starting from an early age, we've all heard the giving birth horror stories. We hear them at school from girls who really don't know what they're talking about, from relatives, and other times from our own mothers.

We've all heard phrases like, "I was ripped open," "I was in excruciating pain for hours," and "I'm so stretched out." These stories are horrifying and it's almost understandable that pregnant teenage girls might want to do anything they could to have an easier birth. 

However, pregnant teenagers smoking in hopes of having smaller babies isn't understandable — it's dangerous and frightening. These expectant mothers aren't just gambling with their lives, but the lives of their child as well. 

A 10-year anthropological study called "Smokefree" from Australian National University found that expectant teens are so scared of labor and having a large baby that they're taking up smoking in an attempt to reduce the birth weight of their unborn babies, even if the health complications from smoking are things like a higher stillbirth and miscarriage rateplacental abruption, heart problems and/or birth defects.

In addition, the serious health problems that a low birth weight baby can have can affect them their entire lives, well into adulthood.

Lead author of the study, Simone Dennis, found that some teenage girls were actively turning to cigarettes while pregnant believing that it would lead to smaller babies and subsequently less traumatic births.

"They had read on packets that smoking can reduce the birth weight of your baby, which is obviously not how the public health message is intended to be taken," Dennis said in an interview with The Daily Telegraph. "They were scared because they were small. The worst thing that could happen to them was to have an enormous baby. Some had even taken it up for the first time for that very reason, and some smoked harder, hoping the promise on the packet would come true. If you smoked more, you could make it better."

Here are four reasons teenage expectant mothers smoke.

1. They fear damage to their vagina

"Most were scared of splitting or tearing," Dennis told Broadly. "Quite a big proportion of them had older sisters who'd given birth, or friends, and women tend to talk in horror story terms about their birth experiences."

2. They fear their vagina wouldn't be the same as it was pre-birth. 

"They were worried about not being able to present in the way they'd used to with men if they'd torn during birth," Dennis said. 

3. They fear weight gain. 

We've all seen how the media fetishizes women who quickly get their pre-pregnancy bodies back. "By and large, they were petite girls anyway, so any weight gain was a terrifying prospect," Dennis explained.

4. It would be an asset for their female babies to be small. 

The girls profiled in the studies reported feeling better about smoking if they knew they'd be having female babies.

"They thought that female babies would be able to get away with being petite, and that it would be advantageous to them later," Dennis said. "It comes out of this gendered view that girls can be delicate and small."

Smoking during pregnancy isn't the way to avoid a painful birth or a method of remaining thin. It's a dangerously bad idea.

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