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Dangers of smoking on pregnancy

September 21, 2012  by: Sapna Chaurasia  Points: 12   Category: Health  Earning $0.60   Views: 497

The article highlights the risks that smoking can impose on a pregnant woman and her developing baby.


“Smoking kills”, we often come across this slogan but very few of us bother to take care and even make an attempt to completely quit smoking. Smoking has life threatening effects and for a woman who is expecting its impacts are far more devastating. Pregnancy is all about caring one’s health and assimilating good habits that will ultimately lay foundation for a stress free pregnancy and healthy development of the baby. It can also become a strong thrust to give up all bad habits including smoking and drinking for the sake of the health of both mother and the baby. Unfortunately some women are unaware of the serious problems that smoking can cause to their pregnancy as well as can interfere with the normal development of the baby. Smoking moms to-be are not only putting their life at risk but are also indirectly passing on the dangers to their baby, the outcome of which could be very painful and both can suffer for their life time.

Dangers of smoking on pregnant women

A woman should try to give up smoking as early as she can if she is planning to start a family as smoking can make it harder to get pregnant. Smoking is found to suppress woman's fertility, nicotine a chemical found in cigarette adversely affect the production of certain hormones which are necessary for pregnancy. Smoking also reduces male fertility by affecting the amount, shape and mobility of sperms. Smoking can impose its risk at any stage of pregnancy but its dangers are at peak during 4-9 months of pregnancy.

Harmful effects of smoking include:


It is the loss of a baby before 24 weeks of pregnancy.


Baby who died during pregnancy within the womb, at the time of labor or birth at or after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Ectopic pregnancy

A woman who smokes during her 1st trimester can develop an ectopic pregnancy. In this condition the embryo is embedded in the Fallopian tube instead of developing in the uterus. As pregnancy advances it can cause pain and excessive internal bleeding due to rupture of the tube. This type of pregnancy never survives and has to be removed otherwise it can risk the life of both mother and the fetus. The condition also lowers the chance of a woman to become pregnant again.

Complication in Placenta :

The uterus is home to the developing baby and Placenta is responsible for providing all the nutrients and oxygen from the mother’s body to the baby through the umbilical cord. Any complication in Placenta can pose serious problems in the developments of fetus in uterus. Following are the complication in Placenta.

Placenta Previa

A condition when Placenta is situated very low in the Uterus almost at the cervix which is the opening of Uterus that ultimately leads to Vagina or birth canal. During labor cervix begins to thin out and opens up as result blood vessels connecting the uterus to placenta tear away resulting in severe bleeding during labor and birth. This can prove fatal to both mother and baby.

Placental abruption

In this condition Placenta separates from the uterus before the baby is born after the 24th week of pregnancy. Placental abruption has also resulted in heavy bleeding and can cause death of the baby due to oxygen starvation.

Vaginal bleeding

Disorders in babies born to smoking mothers

The damages done by smoking are not limited to the mothers only who smoke but its ill effects reach the baby enclosed within the mother’s womb. The chemicals present in cigarette greatly affects the normal development of the baby. Smoking makes the women suffer during her maternal journey and its outcomes are in store with the baby who is also going to suffer due to the disorders which it had developed by unfortunately being in the poisonous environment. Babies may suffer in the following ways-

Respiratory disorder

Cigarette alone contains about 2500 chemicals of which nicotine causes the extreme damage. When a woman smokes she inhales carbon monoxide, nicotine and chemicals from cigarette which reaches her blood stream. The same blood is supplied to the developing baby in the womb through placenta. Hence smoking decreases the amount of oxygen that the mother and the baby get. This increases the heart beat of the fetus as it struggles to get enough oxygen. Inadequate supply of oxygen damage the lungs of baby resulting in poor lung function giving rise to certain respiratory disorder like asthma during their early childhood.

Low birth weight and improper growth

Smoking also deteriorate optimum fetal growth. The babies born to smoking mothers are found to be of lower birth weight ad their organs are comparatively smaller than the babies born to mothers who do not smoke. They are usually premature and thus frequently fall ill. Lower birth weight is also the cause of many disabilities and makes the baby vulnerable to certain disorders like heart diseases and certain form of cancer like Leukemia and Lymphoma.

Behavioral and learning disorders

Smoking interferes with the normal brain development of the babies and children of smoking mothers are born with intellectual disabilities. The babies suffer from behavioral and learning problems and usually have a short attention span. They are prone to diseases like Cerebral Palsy or could be mentally retarded or to worse could die early.

Birth defects

Babies are born with birth defects like cleft lips and palate.

Women are responsible for providing the best and most secure environment for their baby in their womb. So it is advisable to kick off the habit of smoking as soon as possible before becoming pregnant. Reducing the number of cigarettes smoked per day can be a good start but quitting it all together is the only way to a happy and a healthy pregnancy.
Unfortunately some woman resume their habit of smoking once they deliver. Smoking still has its dark shadow on both mother and for the baby. Studies have shown that the mothers who smoke produce inadequate breast milk and this breast milk also contains traces of nicotine that enters babies through breastfeeding. Mothers themselves are craving ways for a deadly future because their child is likely to become a smoker later in his lifetime.
Pregnancy is a high time to think twice before you smoke as it is sometimes easy to ignore one’s health but risking your baby’s life is not the way a mother ever does. Babies have the right to live in a secure environment in the womb and it is the mother’s duty to give up everything that comes in the way of their proper growth. Healthy habits of the mother of the basis of a healthiest start that they can give to their baby. Pregnancy itself is a stressful phase of a woman's life so why complicate it further by indulging in smoking that will only harm the future of both mother and the baby.


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