Smoking causes a lot of health problems such as cancer, heart problems and diabetes. It can also decrease your chances of getting pregnant. Smoking during pregnancy can cause a lot of health problems such as premature delivery, birth defects or infant death.

young pregnant black woman smoking

What is the effect of smoking on my pregnancy ?


The placenta is a tissue that supplies your unborn baby with food and oxygen during pregnancy. When you smoke, you inhale toxins such as nicotine, lead, arsenic and carbon monoxide. These toxins gets into the placenta and the unblical cord into your baby’s blood stream causing health problems. It also reduces food and oxygen supply to our baby .


Smoking during pregnancy increases your risk for the following :


What is the effect of smoking on my unborn child  ?


When you smoke during pregnancy, your baby also smokes. Smoking exposes your child to harmful toxins such as nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar. These reduce the oxygen supply to the baby. Oxygen is crucial in the development of the baby.


Babies born to mother’s who smoke have an increased chance of the following

  • being premature
  • having birth defects such as cleft palate
  • low birth weight
  • life long problems such as learning disabilities and physical growth problems
  • sudden infant death syndrome SIDS

Smoking after delivery increases your babies risk of cold, cough and ear infections. It can also make it harder for the baby to breath causing  pneumonia or bronchitis.


What is second hand smoking ?


It is when you breath smoke from a smoker’s cigarette, cigar or pipe. It comes from two sources. Mainstream smoke which the smoke that a smoker exhales and sidestream smoke which is the smoke floating from the end of the cigarette, cigar, or pipe .


Second hand smoking is dangerous during pregnancy and can cause complications such as low birth weight.


It is also dangerous after the baby is born. It increases the baby’s risk for health problems such as ear infections, colds, cough, pneumonia and SIDS.


What is third hand smoking ?


This is the contamination that results from cigarette smoking.  Third hand smoking includes smelling smoke on items like clothes, furniture, carpet, wall and so on. This also causes health problems such as breathing difficulties, cancer and learning disorders in babies who breath it.


What are the benefits of quitting smoking during pregnancy ?


When you quit smoking :

  • you decrease your risk of premature delivery
  • it increases oxygen supply to the baby
  • you reduce your risk of health problems such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke
  • your clothes, hair and home smell better
  • you become more energetic
  • it helps you breath better
  • you save money
  • you feel good about what you have done for you and your baby

Content Sources

Smoking During Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association. Accessed August 17, 2014
Smoking During Pregnancy. March of Dimes. Accessed August 17, 2014
Tobacco use and pregnancy. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention CDC. August 17, 2014
Second hand smoke. The Nemours Foundation. Accessed August 17, 2014

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