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Smoking is a risk factor in pregnancy. A shortage of oxygen can have devastating effects on a baby’s growth and development. On average, smoking during pregnancy doubles the chances that a baby will be born too early or weigh less than 5 1/2 pounds at birth. Smoking also more than doubles the risk of stillbirth. But is not only this side effects of smoking in pregnancy there are many another complication that we can see affect the baby and the mother during pregnancy and after delivery, even during the childhood
Here we are some consideration about this important factor risk: When woman smoke, the chemicals from cigarette smoke get into the unborn baby’s blood so your unborn baby gets 25% less oxygen, does not grow properly and is less healthy. The placenta joins mom and baby – food and oxygen go from Mom’s blood to baby through the placenta. Nicotine can cross the placenta thereby decreasing blood flow to the fetus and affecting the fetal cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system and central nervous system. Pregnant smokers have placentas that do not work as well as they could.
Every time pregnant have a cigarette, the baby gets less food and oxygen. Babies of smokers are more likely to be born prematurely. Babies of smokers do not grow as well as they could due to the carbon monoxide.
Problem for smoker’s mother and baby during pregnancy and after delivery:
A child may show symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). But no only the baby from smoker mom can suffer that, there is something else that is very important as well and is the baby breathes second hand tobacco When the baby breathes second-hand tobacco smoke all day, the effect is the same as smoking two to three cigarettes per day.
Second-hand smoke can cause infants to cough and wheeze more, to have more colds, ear and lung infections. They may be hospitalized due to illness in their first year of life. Babies whose mother did not smoke during pregnancy, but smoked after birth are twice as likely to die of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). If both parents smoke, the risk is almost four times higher.
This is the physiological effects that can explain all the aspects related before and increased risk of SIDS. It retards growth. Smoking stunts the growth of the developing fetus. Nicotine narrows the uterine blood vessels, thus reducing blood flow to the baby. Also, smoking puts the oxygen blocker carbon monoxide into the blood that nourishes baby. Carbon monoxide levels in cigarette smoke resembles that of automobile exhaust. Smoking thus reduces the oxygen supply to the infant in the womb, in effect slightly smothering the defenseless baby.It retards brain development. The developing brain is particularly vulnerable to low levels of oxygen, and immaturity of the brain center that regulates breathing could contribute to SIDS. Recent studies of smoking mothers’ infants who died in the womb provide insight into how exposure to smoking may injure developing brains. Besides causing neurological damage by lessening oxygen supply to the developing brain, nicotine may be poisonous to area of the brain directly involved with heart and breathing functions and arousal from sleep. Also, infants whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are more likely to have diminished arousal from sleep in response to a low-oxygen challenge.
It impairs breathing after birth. Mothers who smoked at least half a pack of cigarettes a day during pregnancy are nearly three times more likely to have babies with mucus-blocked airways or episodes of apnea. It increases the likelihood of prematurity. The risk of SIDS goes up as baby’s birthweight and gestational age go down. Babies of smoking mothers end up being smaller (due to intrauterine growth retardation), and smoking increases the risk of complications of pregnancy that lead to prematurity: premature rupture of fetal membranes, placenta previa, and premature detachment of the placenta.
Passive smoking also harms the baby. When expectant mothers are exposed to smoke from other people’s cigarettes, their babies are also exposed. We must recommended to every pregnant woman: “Don’t expose yourself and your baby to smoke while pregnant. Legally, you have the right to work in a smoke-free environment”.
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