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Hazards of smoking during pregnancy

Smoking during pregnancy causes many health issues in the developing fetus. In addition to low birth weight, pregnant mothers who smoke are at an increased risk of premature rupture of the membranes which can result in miscarriage and premature birth. Smoking can also cause dangerous placenta issues such as placenta previa and placental abruption.

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.

Breastfeeding and smoking

Yet even mothers who choose to smoke after pregnancy should still 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.

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.

Is second hand smoking a problem in pregnancy?

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.

According to research, second-hand smoke is just as harmful to the fetus as first-hand smoke. The chemicals and carcinogens present in first-hand smoke are still present in second-hand smoke. If the pregnant mother is around multiple people that smoke, the chance of risk may be even higher than if she smoked herself.

The study involved information collected from past smoking studies. The effects of second-hand smoke on the baby were nearly identical when the pregnant woman smoked as when she was around second-hand smoke during the pregnancy. Doctors noted that the effect of smoke on the fetus may not be noticeable at birth and thus the mother may feel she "got away with it."In reality, the effects of smoke may not show up until later in life. Babies born to mothers who smoke are more susceptible to illness, asthma, cancer and decreased life span.

The research also noted that while quitting smoking during pregnancy is advised, the effects of smoking on baby may occur very early on before the mother has stopped smoking. These effects are irreversible in the fetus.

Women who do not smoke, but are around people who do should ask that all smoking take place outside. While this will not completely stop the effect of the smoke on mother or baby as smoke clings to the skin and clothing, it will reduce the effect. The best option for women who smoke is to stop smoking before they become pregnant.

Smoking by the father around expectant moms can harm babies' hearts

Second-hand smoking by the father around the pregnant mom is bad too. In this study from China, researchers reported that passive smoking by the mother as well as a father';'s smoking all increased the risk of a baby being born with congenital heart disease. The recommendation should be that fathers and mothers not smoke during pregnancy and that pregnant women not be exposed to passive smoking.

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