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Health Effects of Smoking on Pregnancy

An estimated 6 million women become pregnant each year in the United States, and more than 11,000 give birth every day. Between 12 and 22 percent of these women will smoke during pregnancy. Smoking has a negative impact on the health of both unborn and newborn children. Only 18 to 25 percent of women quit smoking once they become pregnant.

The Health Effects of Smoking on Pregnancy

Nonsmokers have fewer complications with pregnancy and have healthier babies than smokers.

The cervix is the lower third portion of the uterus. The baby passes through the cervix when it is born. Smoking can cause cervical cancer. Tobacco use increases the risk of pre-cancerous changes as well as cancer of the cervix.

In 2003, an estimated 12,200 new cases of cervical cancer were diagnosed, and an estimated 4,100 women died of cervical cancer.

Smoking can cause infertility in women, making it more difficult to start a family

Smoking is harmful during every part of the development of the baby, and continues to be harmful after a baby is born.

Smoking can cause babies to be born prematurely, and to have low birth weight, respiratory diseases, and other illnesses. Low birth weight is the leading cause of infant deaths.

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of placenta previa and placental abruption.

Nicotine in cigarettes may cause the blood vessels to constrict in the umbilical cord and uterus, decreasing the amount of oxygen the unborn baby receives. Nicotine may also reduce the amount of blood in the baby’s bloodstream, which can contribute to low birth weight.

Women who smoke while pregnant have a higher risk of premature rupture of membranes before labor begins. This can lead to premature birth and possibly infant death.

Secondhand smoke may have terrible effects on a newborn baby. Smoking by mothers causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Infants exposed to secondhand smoke are at twice the risk of SIDS than unexposed infants.

If a nursing mother smokes, her breast milk may contain nicotine, which may be harmful if a baby drinks it.

Benefits of Quitting Smoking

Smokers who quit before or early in pregnancy reduce their risk of miscarriage or of having a low birth-weight baby.

Smokers who quit before or early in pregnancy reduce the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) in their babies.

Source: Surgeon General's 2004 Report

Health Effects of Smoking on the Body

What Smoking Does to the Brain - Smoking has physical and psychological effects on the brain.

Smoking Affects the Eyes - Smoking increases the risk of developing cataracts.

Mouth, Throat Larynx, Esophagus - Are all effected by smoking and secondhand smoke.

Smoking Damages the Lungs - Smoking is one of the leading causes of lung cancer.

Smoking Damages the Heart - Smoking damages the heart and weakens the blood vessels.

How Smoking Affects the Stomach - Smoking causes stomach cancer.

Smoking and the Kidneys - Smoking also causes kidney cancer.

Smoking Damages your Bladder - Smoking is also cause cancer of the bladder.

Smoking and the Pancreas - Smoking causes pancreatic cancer.

Smoking and Pregnancy - Smoking harms both the mother and the unborn child.
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