6 weeks

Why Is It So Dangerous To Smoke During Pregnancy?

I know you shouldn’t smoke during pregnancy, but why exactly is it bad for baby?

You know all that icky stuff in cigarettes — things like nicotine and tar and carbon monoxide? When you smoke, you’re delivering a dose of that nasty stuff straight to your baby. You’re also compromising the amount of oxygen your baby receives. So when you smoke, you’re effectively choosing to send harmful chemicals to your baby instead of the oxygen he needs.

Babies born to moms who smoke are 30 percent more likely to be premature and far more likely than to be have low birth weight than babies born to non-smoking moms. Smoking also increases the risk of birth defects, including cleft lip and palate, heart problems, club foot and defects of the eyes and digestive system. After birth, babies born to smokers are 1.4 to 3.0 times more likely to die of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
If those aren’t good enough reasons to quit, we don’t know what is. If you’re interested in quitting, talk to your healthcare provider. He can help you revise a plan to manage your cravings and ensure your success. He might also be able to point you toward community resources that can help you quit. Some communities offer quit-smoking text messaging services that have been shown to help smokers kick the habit.

Plus, more from The Bump:

Is it safe to quit smoking cold turkey while pregnant?

How much extra weight will I gain if I quit smoking while pregnant?

Ways to make smoking less harmful to baby?

By Kelly Kasper, MD, ob-gyn and associate clinical professor at the Indiana University School of Medicine