Smoking is harmful to both you and your baby. When you smoke your baby gets less oxygen and less oxygen can cause your baby to grow more slowly and gain less weight in the womb. Smoking during pregnancy has also been linked to preterm labor and other pregnancy complications.
Smoking can affect more than just your lungs. Smoking can increase your risk for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis (thinning or weakening of your bones), and cancers other than lung cancer. When you smoke you inhale nicotine and carbon monoxide. These poisons are then transmitted to your baby and can keep your baby from getting the proper supply of nutrients and oxygen that he or she needs to grow.
According to American Lung Association, smoking during pregnancy is associated with miscarriages, still births, low-birth weight, premature birth, and infant death. Smoking during pregnancy is estimated to account for 20-30% of low-birth weight babies and about 10% of all infant deaths.
Some of the effects of smoking while pregnant may not be apparent at birth but are seen after birth. Smoking during pregnancy may be linked to sudden infant death syndrome, asthma in children, learning difficulties and behavioral problems.
Involuntary smoking, i.e., exposure to second hand smoke, takes place when you breathe in the cigarette smoke from others around you. Second hand smoke is harmful to both you and your baby and can lead to your baby having more colds, lung problems, ear infections, learning disabilities and physical growth problems. Additionally, if you smoke while you are breast feeding, the chemicals in cigarette smoke can enter your breast milk and be passed onto your child.
Without a question, and without a doubt, you and your baby are better off if you do not smoke and you do not stay around others while they are smoking. To help you quit smoking contact the American Cancer Society's Quitline (1-800-227-2345) for free telephone counseling or visit the Lung USA website for some suggestions.
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