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Nurse Goodwin

Women who smoke during pregnancy put themselves and their unborn babies at risk for other health problems. The dangers of smoking during pregnancy include premature birth and pregnancy complications. Even being around cigarette smoke can put a woman and her baby at risk for problems.

Pregnant women who smoke expose their babies to all of the harmful effects of smoking. Nicotine in the cigarette causes blood vessels to constrict, so less oxygen and nutrients reach the baby. Carbon monoxide from the cigarette lowers the amount of oxygen the baby receives. Also, women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have certain problems such as tubal pregnancies, vaginal bleeding, problems with the way the placenta attaches to the uterus, low-birth weight babies, and even stillbirths. Low-birth weight babies may have an increased risk for certain chronic conditions as adults.

Pregnant women who are exposed to secondhand smoke have a higher risk of giving birth to a low-birth weight baby than women who are not exposed to secondhand smoke. Infants who are exposed to secondhand smoke are more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS. Children who are exposed to secondhand smoke are at increased risk for bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, severe asthma, respiratory symptoms, and slowed lung growth.

So, if you’re a smoker, this would be an ideal time to consider quitting. Your healthcare team can refer you to a tobacco cessation class or a support group.