What happens when smoking while pregnant?
Well for starters I think we can all agree on that it´s common knowledge that smoking while pregnant can be extremely harmful to the health of an unborn child.
For example, drinking during pregnancy greatly increases the risk of stillbirth, miscarriage or cerebral palsy.
And while a cigarette a day doesn’t seem like much, it can cause birth defects, premature birth and low weight. But how exactly do these substances affect children in the womb and what are the risks of taking them?
In a study of over 25,000 pregnant women, the likelihood of stillbirth was doubled among women who smoked during pregnancy and the risk of infant mortality nearly doubled as well.
However, when women give up smoking during the first trimester of their pregnancy, the risk decreased to that of nonsmokers. This shows quitting as soon as possible can help protect an unborn child’s health.
The chance of miscarriage also increases with the number of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy.
A review of 98 studies on tobacco smoke exposure and miscarriage by researchers from the University of Southern California found for every cigarette smoked by a pregnant woman per day, the risk increases by one per cent.
Even exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy can elevate the chance of miscarriage by 11 per cent. On average, placental abruption occurs in nearly two per cent of pregnancies – but smoking escalates the danger.
The risk increases by 40 per cent for every year a woman has smoked before becoming pregnant, according to a study at Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore.
Premature birth can cause serious health complications for babies, including heart and respiratory problems, brain hemorrhage, and immune disorders.
Smoking has been found to increase the risk of premature birth, and this risk grows the more a woman smokes during pregnancy – research from the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia found.
Low birth weight, typically defined as a weight of less than 5.5lbs (around 2.5kg) at birth, is linked with a greater risk of illness, infection and learning disabilities.
Smoking during pregnancy is associated with a 75 per cent greater risk of low birth weight, experts from Fukuoka University, Japan, found.
An increased risk of cleft palate or cleft lip also occurs due to expectant mothers smoking habits, according to scientists from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Hygiene and Public Health.
Mental Help provides informational resources for a variety of mental health issues, behavioral addictions and substance use disorders. It cited research from Karolinska Institutet, Sweden which showed smoking tobacco dramatically increases the risk of stillbirth.