In what way does smoking cigarettes by the mother affect the child and the mother during the pregnancy? What are further consequences it might have during the pregnancy and delivery of the baby?
Smoking during pregnancy is bad. Really bad. It will be damaging to the baby, and possibly even to the mother.
Firstly, smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriages. It can also cause premature birth, which can lead to many health complications, such as low weight, feeding difficulties, and breathing problems. A mother who smokes while pregnant is also twice as likely to have abnormal bleeding during both pregnancy and delivery. This is dangerous for both the birth mother and the baby. Smoking can also cause some birth defects and puts the baby at a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). The child also has a higher chance of having Cerebral Palsy (CP). When a child of a mother who smoked during pregnancy grows older, they might have lung and brain damage as they grow older.
If a mother is exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy, there is still a risk of many of the complications stated above. So, whether you are a pregnant mother or the husband of one or anyone else living or spending a lot of time with a pregnant mother, don't smoke. It's not worth it.
Also see this related answer.
Smoking during pregnancy is related to many effects on health and it increases the risk in children as well. Even if the mother doesn't smoke, the risk increases significantly with higher amount of passive/secondhand smoking.
These health risks include:
- on ongoing pregnancy:
- premature rupture of membranes,
- placental abruption (the fetus can be put in distress, and can even die),
- placenta previa,
- premature birth (~1%),
- implications for the umbilical cord (can result in heavy bleeding during delivery that can endanger mother and baby, although cesarean delivery can prevent most deaths),
- effects on the child after birth:
- low birth weight,
- sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)wiki, NHS,
- future obesity2010,
- future smoking habits,
- damage to children's carotid arteries at birth and at age 52012,
- lung infections1999, 2003, 2003, 2004
- higher risks of delivering a child with congenital abnormalities, longer lengths, smaller head circumferences, and low birth weight2010,
- babies are exposed to the harmful effects of nicotine through breast milk, however benefits of breastfeeding outweigh the risks of nicotine exposure2007,
- other birth defects such as reduced birth circumference, altered brainstem development, altered lung structure, and cerebral palsy, etc.
Quitting smoking at any point during pregnancy is more beneficial than continuing to smoke, especially if it's within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Image credits: CDC
- Smoking and pregnancy at Wikipedia
- Effects on children who breathe in secondhand smoke
- Health effects of tobacco at Wikipedia
- Why should I stop smoking if I’m pregnant? at NHS