British Mother Glad She Chain-Smoked During Pregnancy

Filed under: In The News, Pregnancy Health

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Credit: Joe Raedle, Getty Images

If you want to have strong and healthy baby, smoke at least 3,500 cigarettes while you're pregnant.

Sure, your doctor will tell you smoking during pregnancy puts your baby at an increased risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke, blindness, gum disease and a whole slew of birth defects.

But who are you going to trust, your doctor or a 20-year-old chain-smoker?

British mother Charlie Wilcox is not, like, a doctor or anything, but she's got this theory: Smoking is actually good for unborn babies.

Smoking cuts off the oxygen supply to the womb, right? The way she figures it, Wilcox tells the London Daily Mirror, that's a good thing. The baby has to work harder, so you end up with a stronger baby.

Tough love begins in the womb.

Several million scientists may have just gone bald from pulling their hair out at Wilcox's logic, but she points to her daughter, Lilly, who has gone 14 months without developing heart disease.

"On average, when I was pregnant I smoked a fag every 45 minutes -- a minimum of 20 a day -- though I cut down to five a day at six months," she brags to the Mirror. "I love just having something to do -- roll a fag, smoke the fag, watch TV."

(For you "Beavis and Butt-Head" types who are chortling right now, "fag" is British slang for cigarette.)

Wilcox's hypothesis about the benefits of prenatal smoking remain controversial. It's one of the reasons she was tapped for the British television series, "Misbehaving Mums To Be."

The Daily Mirror reports Wilcox lived on carbon monoxide levels six times higher than those considered safe during her pregnancy. Yeah, well, Wilcox points to a friend who had a miscarriage. It happened right after the woman quit smoking. So there. What more scientific evidence do you need?

Shane Baker, the father of her child, tells the Mirror he's heard "gossip" about smoking being bad for babies -- but he doesn't see it. Lilly was only 10 days premature and a pound or two lighter than the average baby in Britain.

Wilcox tells the Mirror she did nothing wrong in smoking like a chimney while she was pregnant.

"It was my right," she tells the newspaper. "I don't believe it was hurting Lilly. I thought if I was smoking it would make her use her own heart and the muscles she'd have to use when she was out."

Besides, quitting smoking would have been rough.

"I think if I'd given up straight away, the stress would have been more harmful to the baby," Wilcox tells the Mirror.

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.