Effects of Smoking and Pregnancy
William Franklin Stewart
January 19, 2010
Smoking during pregnancy is associated with many adverse outcomes for children as well as negative consequences for child health and development. Maternal smoking late in pregnancy reduces birth weight and size. Babies that are born to habitual smokers "weigh, on average, about 9 oz. less, and are shorter both at birth and in the years to come" (Berger 115). Nicotine is the addictive ingredient in cigarettes and breaking that habit can be nearly impossible for some women. What is the acceptable way for her to stop smoking? It's my opinion a woman needs to gather all of the ...view middle of the document...
Smoking damages the fetal lungs, which develop early and are exposed longer than other organs to tobacco toxins. Infants born from mothers that smoked are three times more likely to die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), a condition in which babies who appears healthy die suddenly while sleeping, as are babies whose mothers do not smoke during pregnancy. This is also a point of contention between researchers as well. "Children born to mothers who smoked while pregnant, and possibly children whose grandmothers smoked while pregnant, have a higher risk of developing childhood asthma (Child)." Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to be born with birth defects such as cleft lip or palate and to have low birth weight.
Second Hand Smoke
Exposure to second hand smoke, also called involuntary smoking, occurs when non-smokers breathe in the cigarette smoke from others around them. Second hand smoke is harmful to both pregnant women and infants (NTP). Paternal smoking reduces birth weight by about 2 oz. (Berger 115). After birth, babies exposed to cigarette smoke may experience more colds, lung problems, and even ear infections.