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Smoking during Pregnancy

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Smoking during Pregnancy
Examine the effects of smoking during pregnancy. The risks of smoking during pregnancy can hamper the child's future growth and development.

Smoking during pregnancy has health fallout, not just for the mother to be but also for the growing fetus. Smoking is believed to be responsible for 115,000 miscarriages a year and 5,600 stillbirths. Prenatal exposure to cigarette can lead to long-term physical and intellectual problems.

It is estimated that nearly 11% women in the US smoke during pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy has come down considerably from 18.4% in 1990 to 11.4% in 2002. Nearly $336 is spent in neonatal health care costs all attributable to maternal smoking. Find out the devastating effects of smoking during pregnancy.

Smoking during pregnancy

Every cigarette you smoke during your pregnancy is a risk for your growing fetus. Imagine passing on dangerous chemicals that tighten blood vessels and deprive the baby of essential food and oxygen. A mom-to-be that smokes a pack a day takes off nearly half a pound from the baby's birth weight. Smoking can adversely affect a woman's fertility.

Women who smoke are more likely to have problems conceiving. Smokers have lower fertility levels and children born to mothers who smoked have less chance of becoming a parent themselves. Smoking also reduces the chances of IVF succeeding. Smoking adversely affects the hormone production and the transportation of the egg through the fallopian tubes. Men who smoke tend to have a lower sperm count with lower motility.

Effects of smoking during pregnancy

  • Babies of mothers who quit smoking early during pregnancy do as well as non-smoking mothers.
  • Encourage a smoking mom-to-be to quit by not smoking around her.
  • Passive smoking or second-hand smoke can also be dangerous for fetuses.
  • Babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy are at greater risk for developing ADHD - Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
  • Shortage of oxygen can have devastating effects on a baby's growth and development.
  • Smoking during pregnancy doubles the chances that a baby will be born prematurely or weigh less than 5½ pounds at birth.
  • Smoking during pregnancy also more than doubles the risk of stillbirth.

Risk of smoking during pregnancy

The risk of smoking during pregnancy can result in placental complications - placenta previa, placental abruption. These problems can result in heavy bleeding during pregnancy and thereby cause complications to mother and child. It may even cause stillbirth. PROM or premature rupture of membranes is often noticed among those who smoke during pregnancy.

If it occurs before 37 weeks of gestation, it results in a premature birth. Another risk of smoking during pregnancy is ectopic pregnancy. Smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of stillbirth, miscarriage and severe vaginal bleeding. An adverse effect of smoking during pregnancy is the chances of delivering a low birth weight baby.

This can happen due to slow fetal growth. . A smaller baby is more likely to become stressed during birth. Smoking during pregnancy reduces the food and oxygen that passes from the placenta to the fetus. The nicotine in cigarettes may cause constrictions in the blood vessels of the umbilical cord and uterus, thereby decreasing the amount of oxygen available to the fetus.

Nicotine also may reduce the amount of blood in the fetal cardiovascular system. A baby of a woman who smokes weighs on average 170 to 200 grams lighter. The more a woman smokes the greater the weight reduction. Undersized babies also have underdeveloped bodies, lungs that may not be strong enough to work on their own, impaired brain development and possible future addiction for the child too.

Risks of smoking during pregnancy can include likelihood of birth defects such as cleft lip or chronic disabilities such as cerebral palsy and mental retardation. There are chances of other problems in later years such as respiratory illnesses (asthma, ear infections, tonsillitis), behavioral problems and learning disabilities. Babies exposed to cigarette smoke are at increased risk from SIDS - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

The risk of smoking during and after pregnancy is more so for nursing mothers who might pass harmful chemicals to the baby. The milk supply may be reduced too. Take this perfect opportunity to quit smoking, its good for you and good for your baby! You will find yourself with improved health and energy levels - to see you and your baby to a healthy birth.

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