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Smoking during pregnancy

During last decade health policy makers observe continuous drop in the number of smokers but still about 30-33% women in the reproductive age are smoking regularly. Unfortunately there are still women smoking during pregnancy which is the heightened risk for both mother and baby. Maternal smoking essentially impedes fetal development which can lead to several pregnancy complications and future baby survival.

Besides threatening health problems, smoking during pregnancy can lead to several physical, mental and emotional complications in children after birth.

Smoking during pregnancy can not only harm health of mother and unborn baby, but smoking during pregnancy can be also fatal to the baby.

Smoking during pregnancy

Smoking during pregnancy can be a cause for following main abnormalities:

  • decreased fetal development;
  • low birth weight (not adequate to pregnancy duration);
  • miscarriage;
  • placental abruption and other placenta problems;
  • premature birth;
  • still birth;
  • SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

SMOKING during PREGNANCY – important facts

  Smoking during pregnancy doubles the risk of having low birth-weight newborns (less than 5.5 pounds). Main causes of low birth-weight include poor fetal development, preterm delivery or both.

  Smoking during pregnancy doubles the risk of premature birth (before 37 weeks of pregnancy). Premature low birth-weight newborns are at high risk for serious health problems such as cerebral palsy, learning problems and death.

  Smoking during pregnancy dramatically increase the risk of baby’s so called “Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)”.

  The intensity of smoking during pregnancy is correlated with all risks – the more you smoke, the greater are risks for having health problems (for mother and baby).

  Passive smoking (second-hand smoking) during pregnancy and after can also create health problems for children – it is observed that babies who are exposed to smoke suffer from increased risks for allergies, ear infections, asthma, bronchitis and pneumonia.


Smoking pregnant women are exposing unborn babies to highly addictive substances – nicotine, carbon monoxide and other dangerous elements. During smoking all dangerous substances are moving from mother blood, through the “damaged” placenta to the babies’ blood. Nicotine is triggering baby’s increased heart rate and faster breathing rate.

Smoking during pregnancy

Smoking during pregnancy can be a reason for following baby health problems:

  • Increased risk of death at or soon after birth;
  • High risk and increased sensitivity to infections;
  • Decreased slower fetal development;
  • Decreased birth-weight.

Smoking during breastfeeding can still expose newborn babies to harmful chemicals through breast milk.

Passive smoking (second-hand smoking) during and/or after pregnancy can also cause long-term health problems for children. Smoking during pregnancy put children at increased risk of following conditions:

  • Respiratory infections,
  • Asthma,
  • Night cough,
  • Slow growth,
  • Often irritation and/or changes in behavior,
  • Learning difficulties.

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