Smoking During Pregnancy - Quitting

Please discuss your experience with quitting smoking before or during pregnancy.

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How does smoking affect a pregnant woman and her baby?

Tobacco smoking affects both mother and baby and poses health risks to both. Smoking during pregnancy puts the baby at risk for health problems during the pregnancy and after the baby is born. Nicotine and all the harmful (and cancer-causing) products inhaled from the tobacco enter the bloodstream of the mother and are passed directly into the baby's circulation through the placenta. Tobacco smoke contains over 7,000 harmful chemicals, over 70 of which are known to be carcinogenic (cancer causing).

Some of the known health effects on the baby include:

  • A decreased supply of oxygen available to the baby
  • Increased risk of miscarriage and stillbirth
  • Increased risk of poor growth and low birth weight
  • Increased risk of premature delivery
  • Increase in the heart rate of the baby
  • Increased risk of breathing problems in the baby

These risks to the baby increase with the number of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy. Of course, tobacco smoking is also harmful to the mother, increasing her risk of cancers, cardiovascular disease, emphysema, and other conditions.

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