Smoking & impact on pregnancy

If you are a smoker and you want to get pregnant, quitting the habit should be on priority.

Smoking causes fertility issues in both men and women. It can prevent a lady from getting pregnant. And if she does get pregnant, it often may affect her and her unborn baby’s health.

Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 chemicals, including truly nasty things like cyanide, lead, and at least 60 cancer-causing compounds. When you smoke during pregnancy, that toxic brew gets into your bloodstream, your baby’s the only source of oxygen and nutrients. Two of those 4,000 chemicals especially harmful for your baby are nicotine and carbon monoxide. These two toxins account for almost every smoking-related complication in pregnancy, says ob-gyn James Christmas, director of Maternal Fetal Medicine for Commonwealth Perinatal Associates at Henrico Doctors’ Hospital in Richmond, Virginia.

Nicotine and carbon monoxide work together and reduce your baby’s supply of oxygen. This often leads to still birth, pre mature delivery, and low birth weight of the baby. Nicotine chokes off oxygen by narrowing blood vessels throughout your body, including the ones in the umbilical cord. To make things worse the red blood cells that carry oxygen start to pick up molecules of carbon monoxide reducing the amount of oxygen in the umbilical cord. Shortage of oxygen has devastating effects on the baby’s growth and development.

Every cigarette you smoke increases the risks to your pregnancy.

Occasional smoking or cutting down the amount of smoking in a day does not help you or your baby in any way. In fact, a smoker’s body is very sensitive to the first doses of nicotine each day. Even just one or two cigarettes will significantly tighten blood vessels. That is why even a “light” habit can have an outsized effect on your baby’s health.

Passive smoking is also harmful to you and your unborn baby. Inhaling the smoke leads you to breathe in thousands of toxic chemicals that will go straight to your baby. Your baby will be at increased risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, and cot death. Your partner, family, and friends can all help you by making sure they do not smoke when you are around.

Smoking and its effects on the pregnant lady and her child:

  • Miscarriage and stillbirth: Smoking raises the likelihood of both early miscarriage and stillbirth. The dangerous chemicals in cigarettes are often to blame.
  • Ectopic pregnancy: Nicotine causes contractions in the fallopian tubes preventing an embryo from passing through. One possible result of this is an ectopic pregnancy. This happens when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, either in the fallopian tube or in the abdomen. In this situation, the embryo must be removed to avoid life-threatening complications to the mother.
  • Placental abruption: The placenta is the “lifeline” structure that forms during pregnancy to provide the fetus with nutrients and oxygen. Smoking may lead to major complications linked to the placenta. One such problem is placenta abruption. This is a condition when the placenta separates from the uterus before childbirth. This may lead to severe bleeding and threaten the life of both the mother and the unborn child.
  • Preterm birth: This is when the baby is born too early. This condition is associated with multiple problems for the baby like, visual and hearing impairments, mental disability, learning and behavioral problems, complications that could result in death.

Above all these complications lies one ray of hope for a healthy pregnancy and a healthier child. Bless your baby with the gift of life that is healthy and beautiful. Quit this habit to protect the life of your unborn baby. Be a responsible parent. Quit smoking at the earliest.


Do you want to struggle to quit smoking when you should be enjoying the sweet cravings and the excitement of shopping or exercising and eating healthy for your unborn baby? Definitely NOT.


A study published in the August 2009 journal Obstetrics and Gynecology found that expecting moms who quit in the first trimester actually raise their odds of delivering a healthy full-term, full-size baby, to about the same as that of a nonsmoker.

Even though you know all the harmful effects of smoking on you and your unborn child, it is not easy to give up that habit. But you must because somebody is counting on you.

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