Effects of Smoking During Pregnancy on Fetus

Smoking during pregnancy by mother has ill health effects on the growing fetus, which may be continue and be evident after birth also. The health problems that may be seen in the baby, if mother smokes during pregnancy includes LBW (low birth weight), SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), future obesity, birth defects, withdrawal symptoms and future habit of smoking etc.

Low birth weight:

On an average, babies born to smoking mothers are approximately 200 grams less than non smoking mothers and the risk of low birth weight babies is two fold higher among smoking mothers. Low birth weight babies are at greater risk of infant mortality and also have greater risk of disabilities such as learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, mental retardation etc.

Sudden infant death syndrome:

This is a condition where death of infant (below age of one year) occurs which can not be explained. Even autopsy/postmortem can not reveal any reasonable cause of death. Smoking by mother during pregnancy and after birth is one of the factors which have shown correlation with SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Infants of smoking mothers have three times greater risk of SIDS, than infants of non smoking mothers.

Risk of future obesity due to smoking during pregnancy:

Some studies have shown that smoking during pregnancy by mother can lead to obesity during teenage and teenage obesity leads to adult obesity. Teenage obesity may lead to diabetes, hypertension and other cardiovascular health problems. Older teenagers of smoking mothers have more than 25% higher body fat in compare to non smoking mothers.

Birth defects in infants of smoking mothers:

Several birth defects may occur in infants, if mother smokes during pregnancy. Examples are defect in brainstem development (may lead to mental retardation), lung structure development problems, cerebral palsy etc.

Withdrawal symptoms and future habit of smoking in the baby:

Infants born to smoking mother sometimes show symptoms similar to withdrawal symptom seen among babies born to mother taking addictive drugs or illicit drugs (e.g. heroin, cocaine, marijuana etc.). These babies are also more irritable.

Smoking during pregnancy by mother is associated with beginning of smoking at early age by offspring/children in compare to babies born to non smoking mothers.

Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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2 Comments

  • Asthma Education Teenagers | Asthma Education Site
    July 5, 2012 - 1:01 am

  • Dorothy R. Leach@Pregnancy and Smoking October 14, 2012 01.38 pm

    The fetus is very vulnerable at its early stages and harmful chemicals coming from cigarette smoking can endanger them and hamper their development.

    Reply 

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