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Smoking and Pregnancy

ve8QAd   |   June 01, 2010

I’m against induced abortion, but I am also against anything that would increase the number of spontaneous abortions or miscarriages. One of the things that contribute to the premature loss of a baby is the mother’s smoking.

Are you pregnant? Well, then that’s two good reasons to quit smoking. If you’re pregnant and smoking cigarettes, you’re smoking for two. When you inhale, you inhale nicotine, carbon monoxide and other chemicals, and these pass into your baby’s body. They can affect the chance of you having a healthy baby, and no baby should be forced to smoke.

Since lots of smokers have healthy babies, how great is the risk?

  • Up to 14% of all premature births are caused by a mother’s smoking.
  • Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are nearly a half-pound lighter on average than babies born to non-smokers.
  • Those low-birth weight babies are subject to many more problems than normal weight babies.
  • Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage and the risk of infant death. Clearly, the more you smoke, the greater the risk.

Here’s one I’ll bet you didn’t know. Your unborn baby doesn’t breathe in the womb as rapidly as we do in the air world, but he/she does begin to breathe at three months and continues with slow rhythmic respiratory movements until birth. This is the baby’s way of getting in shape to breathe more rapidly after birth. This early “in the womb breathing” develops the muscles of respiration. And knowing this, let me tell you that the effects of cigarette smoking are so immediate and so powerful that your baby’s practice-breathing movements slow down after you smoke just two cigarettes. The more cigarettes you smoke, the more you interfere with your baby’s preparation for life outside the womb.

And why are these babies smaller? Well, one of the gasses you inhale that gets into your baby is carbon monoxide. It forces oxygen out of the red blood cells of both mother and baby. Another is the powerful poison nicotine. This adds to the damage by narrowing blood vessels, including those in the placenta. Both of these side-effects result in preventing enough oxygen and nutrition from getting to the little baby. And that’s why babies from smoking moms weigh less—they’ve been malnourished.

How about after birth? Well, if you nurse, nicotine will find its way into your breast milk and your baby’s body. If you smoke or people around you smoke, it gets into the baby’s little lungs. Breathing smoke-filled air causes those tiny airways to get even smaller and can block them. Babies, you know, breathe faster than adults. They inhale more air, and with it more pollution in comparison to their total body weight. Children whose parents smoke have more pneumonia and bronchitis.

If you’re interested in your baby’s health, then please don’t smoke.

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