If your health isn’t enough to make you quit smoking, then the health of your baby should be. Smoking during pregnancy affects you and your baby’s health before, during, and after your baby is born. The nicotine (the addictive substance in cigarettes), carbon monoxide, and numerous other poisons you inhale from a cigarette are carried through your bloodstream and go directly to your baby. Smoking while pregnant will:
- Lower the amount of oxygen available to you and your growing baby
- Increase your baby’s heart rate
- Increase the chances of miscarriage and stillbirth
- Increase the risk that your baby is born prematurely and/or born with low birth weight
- Increase your baby’s risk of developing respiratory (lung) problems
- Increases risks of birth defects
- Increases risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
The more cigarettes you smoke per day, the greater your baby’s chances of developing these and other health problems. There is no “safe” level of smoking while pregnant.
How Does Secondhand Smoke Affect Pregnancy?
Secondhand smoke (also called passive smoke or environmental tobacco smoke) is the combination of smoke from a burning cigarette and smoke exhaled by a smoker.
The smoke that burns off the end of a cigarette or cigar actually contains more harmful substances (tar, carbon monoxide, nicotine, and others) than the smoke inhaled by the smoker.
If you are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke while pregnant, you will have an increased chance of having a stillbirth, a low birthweight baby, a baby with birth defects, and other complications of pregnancy.
Babies and children exposed to secondhand smoke may also develop asthma
, more frequent lung
and ear infections
, and are at higher risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).