02 Aug Dangers of Smoking During Pregnancy
You already know that smoking has serious health consequences. And if you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, tobacco use also has profound effects on the health of your baby. According to the American Pregnancy Association, up to 20 percent of women find themselves smoking during pregnancy despite these complications. While you might have heard that quitting smoking can cause stress to your baby, it’s much more dangerous to continue using tobacco. There are many ways in which smoking can affect babies in utero.
1. Low Birth Weight
When you smoke cigarettes, the chemicals you inhale, including nicotine, lead, arsenic and carbon monoxide, are absorbed by the placenta. That means that your baby isn’t getting the oxygen and nutrients he or she needs to grow properly, leading to complications after birth, including difficulty breathing, delayed lung development and increased risk for asthma. In addition, complications such as placental abruption and placental previa can occur, putting both you and your baby at risk.
2. Preterm Birth
Smoking during pregnancy is one of the biggest risk factors for having a baby born earlier than 37 weeks gestation. Preterm birth is the leading cause for infant death and long-term neurological disability, particularly among babies who are born earlier than 32 weeks.
3. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Smoking during pregnancy and secondhand smoke exposure after birth is a risk factor for SIDS, which causes the unexplained death of infants younger than one.
4. Birth Defects
Conditions like cleft palate and cleft lip, in which the lip or roof of the mouth doesn’t form correctly, are more common among babies born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy.
5. Infertility and Miscarriage
Not only are women who smoke more likely to have difficulty conceiving, but they are also more likely to never carry a healthy pregnancy to term. In addition, the carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke increases the risk for miscarriage and stillbirth. Smoking also increases the risk for ectopic pregnancy, in which the fertilized egg implants in the fallopian tube rather than in the uterus.
Learn More During a Consultation
It’s never too late to quit smoking during pregnancy, even if you’re close to delivery. And the earlier you quit, the better your child’s health outcomes will likely be. If you are a smoker and you’re expecting or trying to conceive, talk to the professionals at the Women’s Care Center in Bakersfield. We can provide you with programs that can help. Our obstetric team is committed to keeping both mommy and baby in optimal health. Contact us today to schedule your appointment to learn more.