Smoking and Your Baby

Cigarettes and being pregnant don't mix.

Smoking while pregnant can:

  • Double the chances that a baby will be born early
  • Double the chances that a baby will have a low birth weight
  • Double the chances that a baby will die during, shortly after or shortly before birth
  • Lead to underdeveloped lungs in a baby
  • Add to the chances of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), also known as "crib death"
  • Lead to respiratory problems such as asthma

Smoking cuts down the flow of oxygen to a baby in two ways:

  • Carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke quickly attaches to the baby's red blood cells - the more you smoke, the more carbon monoxide you pass to your baby
  • Nicotine makes matters worse by constricting the blood vessels throughout your body, including the umbilical cord

Many risks

The more a woman smokes, the greater the risks to her baby.

  • Smoking a pack a day will likely cut about half a pound from your baby's birth weight
  • Smoking two packs a day could shave off a whole pound from your baby's birth weight

Smoking only one or two cigarettes each day still isn't safe. A pregnant smoker has only one real choice. She needs to quit, and the sooner the better.

Secondhand smoke

Your baby breathes what you breathe. So even if you don't smoke, each time someone near you smokes, you breathe in toxic substances like:

  • Arsenic
  • Formaldehyde
  • Hydrogen cyanide

Breathing secondhand smoke exposes your baby to many of the same risks that would result if you smoked. These risks include low birth weight, early or preterm birth, respiratory disorders and a greater chance of SIDS.

Smoking is bad news for your baby - whether it comes from a cigarette in your mouth, or smoke from someone nearby.

[references] Copyright © 2010 LimeHealth

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