Smoking Effects While Pregnant: What Really Happens to You and Baby?

Smoking Effects While Pregnant: What Really Happens to You and Baby?

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Did you know that 28.3 million adults in the U.S. are smoking cigarettes?

Smokers are often encouraged to abstain from smoking when pregnant. It is well known that smoking affects our health. Smoking while pregnant affects much more than just you – it also affects your future little one!

Wondering how smoking while pregnant harms your baby? Here’s what happens to smoking effects while pregnant.

Miscarriage Risk 

Smoking effects while pregnant include an increased risk of miscarriages. This consists of those that do develop and can occur earlier than usual.

Smoking leads to an increase in the number of carbon monoxide particles entering the placenta. This can decrease the baby’s supply of oxygen. It results in developmental delays and a decrease in growth.

Smoking during pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of intrauterine growth restriction. It may increase the risk of a fetus dying in the womb or shortly after birth.

These serious health risks are compounded if the mother uses multiple substances. This includes alcohol or drugs. These substances can interact and cause even more harm to the baby.

Impaired Learning Capacity

Smoking during pregnancy can have an impeding effect on a baby’s learning capacity. Studies have shown that babies exposed to cigarettes in the womb tend to have decreased IQ scores and develop motor issues. This occurs due to nicotine reaching the baby in the womb, which can disrupt the development of the cells in the baby’s brain.

Prenatal smoking has been linked to cognitive and intellectual disabilities such as difficulty thinking, focusing, and struggling to learn. This deficit is typically carried into adulthood and influences behavior.

In addition, smoking during pregnancy can lead to several long-term brain development issues. Neurodevelopmental difficulties such as behavior and attention-related problems have been linked to in-utero exposure to cigarette smoke.

Smoking during pregnancy is particularly hazardous to the developing baby’s brain. Women who smoke risk adversely affecting the baby’s cognitive and motor skills.

Through education and creating stronger support systems, mothers should be empowered to quit smoking and ensure the best possible health of their unborn child. Be sure to Contact Us to help adults quit smoking and break the chains of their habit.

Premature Births

Smoking during pregnancy can have various negative effects on both mother and child. It has been linked directly to premature births. This can lead to underdeveloped organs and increased susceptibility to medical issues.

Just a few cigarettes per day can increase the risk of premature births. This danger increases with more frequent smoking.

Nicotine also restricts blood flow and oxygen to the baby. It can cause placental abruption. It can lead to bleeding and slow the baby’s growth.

Low Birth Weights

One of the smoking effects while pregnant is low birth weight. It is a significant health issue for both the mother and her baby.

Low birth weight babies are defined as weighing less than 2500 grams. They are at higher risk for many health-related problems.

Pregnant women who smoke cigarettes are more likely to deliver their babies early. This makes an infant more likely to be born small for age. They also have an increased risk of preterm delivery, where the baby is born before 37 weeks of gestation.

High Cholesterol

Smoking can lead to high cholesterol in both mother and baby. This wreaks havoc on cardiovascular health, leading to hardening of the arteries, heart attacks, and strokes.

Additionally, high cholesterol can cause excessive weight gain in the baby and a much higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes. These risks don’t stop after the baby is born, either.

Secondhand smoke can also threaten the health of both mother and child and should be avoided.

Cleft Palates

Pregnancy smoking can seriously affect both mother and baby, including cleft palates. A cleft palate is a birth defect that occurs when the roof of the baby’s mouth doesn’t form properly. Women who smoke during pregnancy are two to four times more likely to have a baby with a cleft palate than non-smokers.

The risk isn’t just linked to smoking directly. Women exposed to smoke also have an increased risk of having a baby with a cleft palate.

Because of these risks, avoiding smoking during pregnancy or in an environment with pregnant women is essential to reduce the risk of cleft palates and other problems for the baby.


Smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of asthma both for the mother and baby. Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to long-term respiratory problems. This refers to reduced lung function and asthma in the baby.

For the mother, smoking increases the risk of asthma flare-ups. It means the mother is more likely to suffer from shortness of breath, wheezing, and coughing during pregnancy. This can further impact the baby.

Smoking can also increase the baby’s risk of being born with certain conditions, such as neural tube defects and chronic respiratory problems.

Smoking can also increase the risk of the baby being born prematurely, increasing asthma risk. Therefore, avoiding smoking during pregnancy and consult with a doctor if needed is essential.

Behavioral Problems

Studies have found that children of women who smoked during pregnancy are more than three times as likely to develop ADHD. Additionally, children exposed to cigarette smoke during gestation are more impulsive, display more aggressive behavior, and have more difficulty with cognitive tasks.

Further studies have suggested that smoking while pregnant may even increase the risk of violent criminal behaviors. Smoking while pregnant can have severe consequences for both the mother and baby, including behavior problems, and expectant mothers must take all necessary precautions to ensure their baby’s development is not threatened in any way.

Learning Different Smoking Effects While Pregnant

Smoking effects while pregnant results in negative health effects on both the mother and baby. It is essential to quit smoking before or during pregnancy for the health of both mother and baby. If you or someone you know is struggling with quitting smoking during pregnancy, please seek help from a healthcare provider to reduce the risks associated.

If you find these articles helpful, please check out our website and read more. We have great articles that you can enjoy.

Also Read: The Potential Side Effects of Cannabis Use: Understanding the Risks and Benefits



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