Smoking while pregnant
During a pregnancy you can make many choices, for yourself, and your baby. One of those decisions should not be smoking. If you smoke while you are pregnant it has many effects on your baby, before and after the birth. It retards the growth along with the brain development. It impairs the breathing after birth, and increases the likeliness of prematurity.
Smoking effects the growth of the baby and the brain development in many ways. Nicotine narrows the uterine blood vessels, thus reducing blood flow to the baby. Smoking also puts the oxygen blocker carbon monoxide into the blood that nourishes the baby. Levels of carbon monoxide have been measured at six to seven times higher in blood of pregnant mothers who smoke. It reduces the oxygen supply to the infant in the womb, in effect slightly smothering the defenseless baby. The developing brain is particularly vulnerable to low levels of oxygen, and immaturity of the brain center that regulates breathing could contribute to SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). Recent studies of smoking mothers’ infants who died in the womb provide insight into how exposure to smoking may injure developing brains. Nicotine may be poisonous to area of the brain directly involved with heart and breathing functions and arousal from sleep. Also, infants whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are more likely to have diminished arousal from sleep in response to a low oxygen challenge. Breathing in toxins at such an early age may have devastating health problems like asthma and other breathing issues, learning disorders and cancer. On average, smoking during pregnancy doubles the chances that a baby will be born to early or weigh less than 5 ½ pounds at birth.
The risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) goes up as a baby’s birth weight and gestational age go down. Babies of smoking mothers end up being smaller and smoking increases the risk of complications of...