Common Specialities
{{speciality.keyWord}}
Common Issues
{{issue.keyWord}}
Common Treatments
{{treatment.keyWord}}

Pregnancy - Is Smoking Dangerous?

MRCOG, MD - Obstetrics & Gynaecology, MBBS
Gynaecologist, Mumbai  •  20 years experience
Pregnancy - Is Smoking Dangerous?

Smoking during pregnancy can adversely affect not only your health but that of your unborn too. Kicking this habit can help you to have a safer pregnancy as well as a healthier baby. If not, it can lead to a number of serious pregnancy complications including the death of your baby. According to various findings, smoking during this period can double your prospects of having a baby with low birth weight as well as your chance for stillbirth.

What happens when you smoke while pregnant?

The cigarette smoke is made up of about 4000 chemicals, which includes about 60 cancer causing substances, lead, and cyanide. Of these toxins in cigarette smoke, carbon monoxide and nicotine are the two toxins that make up much of smoking-related pregnancy complication. The toxins go directly to your baby through the bloodstream, the only source of nutrients and oxygen for your offspring. By working in tandem, the nicotine and carbon monoxide toxins bring about a decrease in the supply of oxygen for your baby. While nicotine cuts off oxygen supply by constricting the blood vessels, the red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen also pick up carbon monoxide molecules and take them directly to your baby.

What effects does it have on your little one?

When you smoke, you put your baby on harm's way and here's what happens to your baby:

  1. Smoking when you are pregnant increases your risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy growing outside the womb)
  2. It can cause death of baby in womb (still birth) or shortly after birth
  3. It can also cause abnormilities in your baby, such as face defects, such as cleft lip/ cleft palate
  4. It can cause bleeding during the last months of pregnancy, which is known as an abruption (when the placenta comes away from the wall of the womb), this could be life threatening for you and your baby or premature birth, when you have your baby before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  5. In terms of weight, it has been revealed that while smoking one pack daily can bring about a 226 gm decrease in the baby's weight, smoking two packs every day can affect your baby's weight by about 453 gm. A stunted growth during this period can negatively affect your child later in life.
  6. Due to the negative effects of the toxins, the development of your baby's lung and body gets hampered. It may also make your baby prone to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SID) and asthma.
  7. It can also increase your baby's chance of suffering from a heart defect. Research shows that babies whose mothers smoke during the first three months of pregnancy have 20-70% chance of developing congenital heart problems compared to babies whose mothers didn't smoke.
  8. Smoking can affect the development of his brain functions and cause him or her to suffer from low IQ, learning disabilities as well as behavioral issues.

Secondhand (passive) smoke also harms your baby if your husband or anyone else who lives with you smokes, their smoke can affect you and the baby both before and after birth. You may also find it more difficult to stop if someone around you smokes. Secondhand smoke can also reduce the baby's birthweight and increase the risk of cot death. Babies whose parents smoke are more likely to be admitted to hospital for bronchitis and pneumonia during their first year. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.

4162 people found this helpful