Smoking While Pregnant
Most people can admit that they know smoking is not a healthy habit, but what they might not realize is that it can also heavily affect a baby while pregnant. Smoking products such as tobacco and marijuana enter your bloodstream, which is also attached to your child in the womb. Lifelong birth defects and death are more common in infants who have mothers who smoke while pregnant than those who do not. When a woman stops smoking, she is doing so to protect her unborn child and reproductive health.
Smoking tobacco during pregnancy can cause tissue damage in the unborn baby, particularly in the lung and brain, and some studies suggest a link between maternal smoking and cleft lip! Studies also suggest an increased risk of a miscarriage if you are a recent smoker or currently smoke. Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke can keep the growing baby from getting enough oxygen, therefore reducing its ability to develop properly. Tobacco smoke also contains so many other chemicals that can harm unborn babies.
The complications of smoking while pregnant continue after the child is born. Mothers who smoke are more likely to deliver their babies early. Preterm delivery is a leading cause of death, disability, and disease among newborns. Secondhand smoke can be just as dangerous, as mothers who are exposed to secondhand smoke while pregnant are more likely to have lower birth weight babies. Sudden infant death syndrome is another fatal consequence of babies being exposed to smoke in any part of their lives and development. According to the CDC, both babies whose mothers smoke while pregnant and babies who are exposed to secondhand smoke after birth are more likely to die from sudden infant death syndrome than babies who are not exposed to cigarette smoke but babies whose mothers smoke are about three times more likely to die from SIDS!
Marijuana use during pregnancy can be harmful to your baby’s health. Although more research is needed to better understand how marijuana may affect you and your baby during pregnancy, it is recommended that pregnant women do not use marijuana. The chemicals in marijuana pass through your system to your baby and may harm your baby’s development. Studies suggest that marijuana use by women during pregnancy could be linked to problems with attention, memory, problem-solving skills, and behavior in their children later in life.
It is so important to protect your baby’s lungs and health by preventing exposure to any type of smoke rather born or unborn. By not smoking or being around heavy amounts of smoke, you are setting your child up for a healthy future. If you are struggling with a smoking habit and are or are thinking about getting pregnant, please reach out to your local health department for help.