The women of Ukraine had better beware before they light up or enjoy a drink. They could face a fine if it turns out that they are pregnant!
Some would never dream of smoking while they are expecting a baby. But others found the habit simply too hard to break.
As one young mother told euronews, trying to give up took a heavy toll on her nerves.
“When I discovered I was pregnant, we decided I should quit,” said the 26-year-old who chose to preserve her anonymity. “I tried to. I didn’t smoke for three days. After that my husband said: ‘Either you go back to smoking or all of us will go crazy here.’ So we decided I should try and reduce the amount of cigarettes to five or six a day.”
The threat of a fine will raise individual responsibility, according to MPs pushing the bill through parliament.
One expert, Vyacheslav Kaminsky, the Ministry of Health’s Chief Obstetrician-Gynaecologist, warned that tobacco puts female fertility at risk.
Kaminsky said that if a girl starts smoking at 13 or 14 and has not had a baby by the age of 30, it is possible she never will “because her ovarian reserve, the ability of an egg to fertilise, has been reduced or completely lost.”
Our correspondent in Kiev, Angelina Kariakina, said: “Ukrainian human rights activists have dubbed the draft law discriminatory, as cigarettes and alcohol are harmful for everyone. They want MPs to focus more on passive smoking. Many people in Ukraine are still forced to breathe in cigarette smoke in public places, in restaurants and on transport. Future mothers are among them.”