It is well documented that smoking is harmful to your health. A single cigarette contains more than 4000 harmful chemicals, the most dangerous of which is carbon monoxide. Every cigarette you smoke has a negative effect on the health of your baby. The more you smoke, the higher the risk to your babies health and life. Below are just some of the effects that smoking can have on your baby.
Carbon monoxide is a chemical which restricts the blood supply to your babies tiny heart. Every cigarette you smoke causes your babies heart to have to work extra hard, just to get enough oxygen around his delicate body.
The risk of complications increases significantly if you continue to smoke during pregnancy. The risk of developing a serious complication like placental abruption goes up by 25% in moderate smokers and as much as 65% in heavy smokers.
There is a higher risk of still birth or miscarriage of smoking. If you smoke more than a box of 20 cigarettes a day, this risk can increase by as much as 35%. Your baby is also more likely to be born with a low birth weight, or prematurely.
The risk to your child goes beyond what happens in the womb. If you smoke during pregnancy, your child is more likely to be vulnerable to the development of lung conditions such as asthma and lung infections as he grows up as well as infections of the inner ear in childhood. Your child is also more likely to become a smoker when he grows up.
Stop smoking once you discover that you are pregnant, or before trying for a baby. Speak to your health care provider for advice on quitting smoking while pregnant. Nicotine patches and gum still deliver nicotine into your bloodstream and their effect on pregnancy is not well documented, so it is advisable to stay away from these during pregnancy.
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