When Mad Men features scenes of pregnant women smoking, the image is meant to be jarring and show how much the world has changed since the 1960s. But of course, women still smoke during pregnancy. Even though smoking while pregnant is widely regarded as unacceptable, doctors say many women are purposely smoking in the hopes of having a smaller baby.
The Telegraph reports that at a recent meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology in Stockholm, researchers said women are ignoring warnings about smoking and prenatal development because they're hoping to stunt their child's growth, thus making their delivery easier. Professor Nick Macklon of Britain's Southampton University said:
"It is important that people who believe that a smaller baby means an easier birth take into account the increased risk of complicated deliveries in smokers, as well as the risk of disease later in life which goes with low birth weight. Smoking during pregnancy is not just bad for the mother and baby, but for the adult it ill grow into."
The article doesn't mention any evidence that many pregnant smokers are motivated by hopes of an easier labor. Much like the supposed "too posh to push" trend, which alleges that women schedule elective C-sections because they believe they are easier than vaginal birth (except for the major abdominal surgery), it seems possible that this is just a nasty way to judge women who are pregnant.