Smoking while pregnant has harmful effects, as medical experts will share.

Many mothers, who find it hard to go without a puff, are guilty of smoking while pregnant.

Not giving up cigarettes, however, can harm an unborn baby. Quitting, as we know, benefits the body and mind.

Smoking While Pregnant: Statistics

The number of maternal smokers who smoke and endanger the health of their unborn babies is troubling.

The 2011 Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System (PRAMS), which collates data from 24 states in the US, shows that about 10% of women smoke during the last trimester of their pregnancies.

Approximately 55% of them stop when they find out that they are pregnant. Unfortunately, about 40% of the women who quit start smoking again within six months of their children’s births.

7 Ways Smoking While Pregnant Harms Your Unborn Baby

So, how does cigarette smoke jeopardize an unborn baby’s health? Here’s some insight from the Centers for Disease Control an Prevention (CDC).

1. Cell Damage

First of all, smoking while pregnant may damage cells, particularly to those in the lung and brain. Research points to links between maternal smoking and babies with cleft lips.

2. Miscarriages

Maternal smoking may also trigger stillbirths. Tobacco has carbon monoxide, which prevents a baby from getting oxygen. Of course, it also contains chemicals that harm unborn babies.

3. Premature births

Research shows that mothers who smoke are more likely than those who don’t to give birth prematurely. Furthermore, preterm births often lead to death, disease, and disability, according to studies.

4. Low Birth Weight

Statistics show that one in every five babies born to pregnant smokers is underweight. Mothers who inhale secondhand smoke are also likely to have babies with low birth weights. Moreover, research proves that these babies are not healthy.

5. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Besides, these findings show that babies born to mothers who smoke or had exposure to secondhand smoke are three times more prone to SIDS than other babies.

6. Weak Lungs

The same studies also show that mothers who smoked while pregnant or who had secondhand exposure to smoke gave birth to babies with weak lungs. That creates many health concerns.

7. Heart Defects

Babies born to mothers who smoked during the first trimesters of their pregnancies were likely to have heart defects.

A study by the CDC in showed that these babies were 20 to 70% more likely than those who were born to non-smoking mothers to have problems with right ventricular flow. They also developed obstructions in the upper chambers of the heart.

The Benefits of Not Smoking While Pregnant

Not smoking will enhance your well being as well as your baby’s. Here’s how.

1. Oxygenation

You will, first of all, take in more oxygen when you don’t smoke, and by extension, so will your baby. Quit for just a day, and you’ll notice a difference in your health, and that of your baby’s.

2. Lower risk of premature birth

There is also less risk that you will give birth prematurely.

3. Decreased risk of stillbirth

Also, there is less chance of stillbirth or early death if you stop lighting up. The chances of protecting your baby’s life are high.

4. Low risk of disease

Furthermore, you and your baby will not develop smoke-related illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and lung cancer, the disease that has the most significant link with smoking.

5. Increased energy

Not smoking will also increase your strength and endurance. You and your unborn baby will breathe better.

6. No odors

Another way that not smoking will benefit you is that your clothes will smell better.

And then, smoking doesn’t do wonders for your breath. You’ll need to stop for it to improve.

7. Improved taste

Nicotine will affect your sense of taste. Consequently, will enhance the flavor of your food.

8. Savings

Cigarettes are expensive. You will save more money than if you didn’t smoke.

In all, not smoking while pregnant is a boon for your health and your young ones.

By Michelle L.

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