Effects of Cigarette Smoking During Pregnancy

Smoking during pregnancy is considered to be one of the leading preventable causes of low birth weight. Pregnant smokers give birth to smaller babies, greater chances of premature birth and placental malformations, and have premature rupture of the membranes and stillbirths. Their babies also have a higher incidence of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and have shown to be intellectually 3 to 5 months behind the children of nonsmoking parents. In addition, some effects have been found to be lasting. Follow-up have shown that the 7-year-old children of women who smoked during pregnancy were shorter in stature, tended to have retarded reading abilities, lower in social adjustment, and had more behavioral problems than the children of women who did not smoke during pregnancy. While pregnant, stop smoking or cut down as much as possible, and to avoid being around others who are heavy smokers. There is a direct relationship between the number of cigarettes a woman smokes per day and the degree to which her baby is affected.

Even if their mothers did not smoke during pregnancy, infants living in households where others smoke are at increased risk. They are more twice more likely to die of SIDS than those living in smoke-free environments. According to an article in Pediatrics, the infants of women who smoke than twenty cigarettes a day are more likely to have recurrent ear infect’ Researchers believe that “side stream cigarette smoke causes a buildup mucus and there is evidence that smoke can paralyze the cells that move mucus out of the middle ear. Evidence also indicates that smoke interfere with the ability of white cells to fight infection in the middle ear.”

If you are a smoker, pregnancy is the best time to stop. The immediate future benefits for you and your unborn baby are immeasurable.