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Smoking and Pregnancy: What Are the Risks?
In the United States between 2009 and 2010, 22.7 percent of teens age 15 to
17 smoked cigarettes during their pregnancies. Carbon monoxide and nicotine from
tobacco smoke may interfere with fetal oxygen supply -- and because nicotine readily
crosses the placenta, it can reach concentrations in the fetus that are much
higher than maternal levels. Nicotine concentrates in fetal blood, amniotic
fluid, and breast milk, exposing both fetuses and infants to toxic effects.
These factors can have severe consequences for the fetuses and infants of
mothers who smoke, including increased risk for stillbirth, infant mortality,
sudden infant death syndrome, preterm birth, and respiratory problems. In
addition, smoking more than a pack a day during pregnancy nearly doubles the
risk that the affected child will become addicted to tobacco if that child