Smoking and Pregnancy
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that women who are pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant should not smoke. Smoking during pregnancy can harm your baby, including causing low birth weight and prematurity. In addition, there’s evidence that babies born too early may have more health problems at birth and later in life than those born at term. Even secondhand or “passive” smoking is dangerous to your baby!
Smoking can harm a woman and her baby.
Smoking during pregnancy can cause harm to the mother and her baby.
- Smoking causes a miscarriage. If you smoke, there is a chance that you may miscarry your pregnancy or have an early delivery. This increases the risk of stillbirth and low birth weight babies.
- Smoking causes preterm deliveries (before 37 weeks) that are associated with poor health outcomes for both mother and baby after birth, including infections, lung problems (such as pneumonia), high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, and asthma attacks in children later in life.
Pregnant women who smoke may have an increased risk of:
If you’re pregnant, smoking can cause a number of serious problems for your baby.
- Low birth weight: Babies born to mothers who smoke may be smaller and weigh less than usual. This is especially true if they were born early or had a difficult pregnancy. Babies who are born weighing less than 5 lbs 6 oz have an increased risk of dying from complications related to prematurity (such as respiratory distress syndrome), the low birth weight itself, or other health conditions that affect both mother and child at this time in life.
- Premature birth: Smoking during pregnancy has also been linked with premature births—that is, deliveries that occur before 37 weeks gestation (or four months after conception). In addition to being more likely to deliver early themselves, women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely than nonsmokers to have babies with low Apgar scores 1 minute after delivery (a measure used by doctors to check on how well newborns did).
If a pregnant woman smokes, her baby’s birth weight may be lower than if the mother did not smoke.
Smoking during pregnancy can lead to lower birth weight for your baby. This may be due to the fact that smoking during pregnancy increases blood pressure and heart rate, which increases blood flow to the placenta. The result is less oxygen being delivered through your mother’s body, making it harder for her body to deliver nutrients such as iron and protein into her developing baby’s bloodstream.
A study published in BMJ Open showed that women who smoked had 3 times greater odds of delivering preterm (before 37 weeks) compared with nonsmokers; this increased risk was even greater if they had an early birth (less than 33 weeks), when there are higher risks for fetal death or serious problems such as cerebral palsy or mental retardation later in life.
The risk of having a miscarriage is higher among women who smoke.
Smoking is a risk factor for miscarriage. Smoking causes an increase in the risk of early pregnancy loss by as much as 50%, according to research published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.
The amount of time it takes to get pregnant depends on many factors, including your age and health history. But smoking can delay ovulation or put you at risk for ectopic pregnancy if you do not carry a baby within the womb. This type of pregnancy occurs when there’s no connection between the fallopian tube where sperm normally swims and an embryo; instead, one grows outside it—and sometimes into another organ (like your bladder).
There is also an increased risk for stillbirth (delivery of a baby who has died in the womb).
Stillbirth (delivery of a baby who has died in the womb) is also a rare event. There are many reasons that stillbirth can occur, including genetic abnormalities and maternal complications such as infection or hemorrhage. Smoking during pregnancy has been associated with an increased risk for stillbirth, with evidence that smoking may lead to intrauterine growth retardation or fetal death due to decreased oxygen supply to the fetus.
Women who smoke are more likely to have a preterm delivery (birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy).
- Smoking during pregnancy is linked to several problems for the baby.
- The mother’s health may be affected by smoking during pregnancy.
- Smoking can affect your family and community as well.
- Smokers are more likely to have preterm births (birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy).
Even secondhand or “passive” smoking is dangerous to your baby.
Even secondhand or “passive” smoking is dangerous to your baby. Secondhand smoke can cause lung problems in children, including asthma, ear infections, and respiratory infections.
Passive smoking means that someone else is smoking near you without you having direct contact with the smoke (for example if they are on a bus where there are smokers). Passive smoking has been linked to cancer of the womb and cervix in women; lung cancer in men; heart disease; stroke; diabetes mellitus type 2 (diabetes) which may result in kidney failure or blindness among others.