pregnancy safety, Baby, fetus, during pregnancy, smoking, secondhand smoke, intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR), low birth weight

Smoking during pregnancy causes many problems, in addition to low birth weight. Pregnant mothers who smoke are at an increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth.

In addition, many pregnant moms who smoke continue to smoke after the baby is born. When babies are around cigarette smoke, even on mom's skin and clothing, they are at increased risk of lung-related illnesses like asthma and bronchitis.

It's important to note that cigarette smoking will affect the fetus even if the effects are not tangible at birth.

Yet even mothers who choose to smoke after pregnancy should choose to breastfeed. Breastfeeding passes necessary antibodies to the baby. The antibodies can help protect the baby against the increased chance of ear infections, bronchitis, sinus infections and eye infections that accompany cigarette smoking around baby.

However, there have been reports of negative effects of cigarette smoking while breastfeeding with mothers who are heavy smokers. Heavy smokers are defined as women who smoke more than one pack of cigarettes a day. The symptoms baby may exhibit include nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps and diarrhea.

It is important to note that smoking while having a baby in the household increases the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). The babies of smoking mothers are seven times more likely to die from SIDS than babies born to mothers who do not smoke. These babies go to the doctor three times more often than other babies and have an increased chance of lung cancer (doubled risk). This is especially true if both parents in the household choose to smoke.

If the mother is unable to quit smoking during pregnancy or after pregnancy during breastfeeding, it is important to slow down as much as possible. The fewer cigarettes smoked during the pregnancy, the fewer side effects on the fetus. It's important to note that cigarette smoking will affect the fetus even if the effects are not tangible at birth.

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