Although many people know that smoking during pregnancy can cause problems, 10% of pregnant women reported smoking during the last 3 months of pregnancy. When you smoke during pregnancy, your baby is exposed to dangerous chemicals like nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar. These chemicals can lessen the amount of oxygen that your baby gets. This can slow your baby’s growth before birth and can damage your baby’s heart, lungs and brain.
If you smoke during pregnancy, you’re more likely to have:
- Preterm labor. Preterm labor can lead to premature birth. Smoking nearly doubles a woman’s risk of having a premature baby.
- Ectopic pregnancy. This is when a fertilized egg implants itself outside of the uterus (womb) and begins to grow. An ectopic pregnancy cannot result in the birth of a baby. It can cause serious, dangerous problems for the pregnant woman.
- Vaginal bleeding
- Problems with the placenta, like placental abruption and placenta previa.
If you smoke during pregnancy, your baby is more likely to:
- Be born prematurely. Premature babies are more likely than babies born on time to have health problems.
- Have certain birth defects, such as cleft lip or cleft palate.
- Have low birthweight. This means your baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
- Die before birth. If you smoke during pregnancy, you’re more likely to have a miscarriage or a stillbirth.
- Die of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). This is the unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old.
Secondhand and thirdhand smoke are also bad for your baby’s health. Being around secondhand smoke during pregnancy can cause your baby to be born with low birthweight. Babies who are around secondhand smoke are more likely than babies who aren’t to have health problems, like pneumonia, ear infections and breathing problems, such as asthma, bronchitis and lung problems. There are also at an increased risk of SIDS.
If you quit smoking during pregnancy, you and your baby immediately benefit. According to the CDC, here’s how:
- Your baby will get more oxygen, even after just one day of not smoking.
- There is less risk that your baby will be born too early.
- There is a better chance that your baby will come home from the hospital with you.
- You will be less likely to develop heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, chronic lung disease, and other smoke-related diseases.
- You will be more likely to live to know your grandchildren.
- You will have more energy and breathe more easily.
- Your clothes, hair, and home will smell better.
- Your food will taste better.
- You will have more money that you can spend on other things.
- You will feel good about what you have done for yourself and your baby.
So make a plan to quit today. Need help? Check out these resources: