Tobacco and pregnancy

  • Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage threefold, and is even higher for heavy smokers of more than one pack per day.
  • Smoking is the leading cause of premature birth
  • The risk of spontaneous abortion is multiplied by 2 .
  • The risk of an ectopic pregnancy is multiplied by 2 .

Smoking and health implications for the baby

Smoking during pregnancy is harmful for the mother and the development of her baby.

The effects of smoking on the fetus whilst pregnant are numerous :
  • The nicotine passes through the placenta and is absorbed by the fetus, which is called passive smoking in utero.
  • Carbon monoxide from the cigarette smoke enters the bloodstream of the fetus and may partially deprive the fetus of oxygen.
  • The passage of carbon monoxide in the blood of the fetus causes:
    • hypotrophy, decreased weight of the baby, at birth of about 200 grams minimum
    • A decrease in height and head circumference
    • The risk of giving birth to a baby weighing less than 2.5 kg, is twice as high among smokers.
    • Low birth weight exposes the newborn to complications
    • Babies who have been in contact with tobacco during the pregnancy of their mother are more likely to become young smokers.

It is always possible to stop smoking during pregnancy. Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) can be prescribed during pregnancy as it is considered safer than smoking. Stopping smoking significantly reduces risks for both the mother and her child. See your GP or Midwife for more information

The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is increased threefold if the mother smokes during pregnancy or after birth.

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