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Smoking - Does It Impact The Fetus?

Dr. Arpana Jain 92% (519 ratings)
MBBS, DGO, DNB
Gynaecologist, Delhi  •  27 years experience
Smoking - Does It Impact The Fetus?

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:

- 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.

- 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.

- 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.

- 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. If you wish to discuss about any specific problem, you can consult a Gynaecologist.

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