The issue of whether or not it is safe to use e-cigarettes during pregnancy, is an important topic which is widely argued. The reason for this is that nicotine is in fact present in unregulated amounts in e-cigarettes, and it is strongly addictive.
It is undisputed that tobacco is harmful and affects your pregnancy outcome. Studies have indicated that nicotine is harmful to both the mother and developing fetus, adversely affecting the fetus’ developing central nervous system. However, the question remains as to whether it’s the nicotine or the other elements of tobacco smoke that are so harmful. Cigarette smoking delivers thousands of chemicals, some of which are well-documented reproductive toxins.
Even though e-cigarettes are a far healthier alternative to regular cigarettes, it is hard to say whether or not they can affect your baby’s health while in the womb. The way e-cigarettes work, is that Inside of them, there's a battery, a heating element, and a cartridge that holds nicotine and other liquids and flavourings. Some e-cigarettes are disposable, while others have a rechargeable battery and refillable cartridges. When you take a puff from your e-cigarette, a vapor is produced that looks like smoke. The e-cigarette therefore imitates the act of smoking a regular cigarette.
E-cigarettes don't burn, so they do not produce smoke which is one of the great dangers of tobacco. Tests show that the levels of dangerous chemicals they give off are a fraction of what one gets from a real cigarette. Although this is positive information, we still don’t know enough about the potential risks of e-cigarettes, the amount of nicotine or other potentially harmful chemicals which are being inhaled during use, and the impact on pregnancy and child outcome.
What we do know, is that cigarette smoking during pregnancy is responsible for a great deal of maternal and infant illness and death, and addiction to nicotine prevents many pregnant women who wish to quit smoking from doing so. As stated previously, e-cigerettes do contain nicotine and this is addictive. When users stop using nicotine, they can have withdrawal symptoms including feeling irritable, depressed, restless and anxious. An infant who is abruptly cut off from nicotine can display these same symptoms of abstinence. For this reason, it is not a good idea for a woman to use an e-cigarette while pregnant.
In conclusion, the effects of e-cigarettes on pregnancy and on fetal health have not been determined yet, and should not be considered a “safe” alternative to cigarettes until more is known about them.