No Smoking Please! Did you know that the smoke of one cigarette contains the poisonous gases of approximately 4,000
chemicals, some of which could kill or injure your baby and increase your risk
of miscarriage? Among the many poisonous gases in cigarette smoke are nicotine
(an addictive drug known to narrow blood vessels), carbon monoxide (an oxygen
robber), benzene (a potential carcinogen), ammonia, and formaldehyde. The
harmful effects of cigarette smoke on you and your baby increase with each
cigarette smoked each day.
Some of the detrimental side effects of smoking during pregnancy include:
- Smoking robs babies of nourishment. Many studies have shown that
infants of mothers who smoke have lower birth weights. The poisonous nicotine
narrows uterine blood vessels, thus reducing blood flow to the baby in the womb.
Less blood flow means less nourishment and, therefore, less growth for your
- Smoking robs baby of oxygen. Besides restricting blood flow to the
womb, maternal cigarette smoking and breathing second hand smoke decreases the
amount of oxygen available to the baby from the blood. The level of carbon
monoxide in the blood of pregnant women who smoke is 600 700 percent higher
than in those who don't smoke. Carbon monoxide is an oxygen blocker, meaning it
prevents blood cells from carrying a full load of oxygen. Lack of oxygen can
affect the development of every organ in the baby's body.
- Smoking injures little brains. New studies suggest that the
developing baby's brain is injured not only by lack of oxygen, but also by the
chemicals in cigarette smoke, which may be directly poisonous to developing
brain cells. Children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy, especially those
of mothers who smoked more than one pack a day, have been found to have a
smaller head circumference as infants, decreased mental performance scores at
one year, reduced IQs, and diminished academic performance scores in school
compared to the children of mothers who did not smoke.
- Passive smoke hurts babies. New research shows that when pregnant
mothers are exposed to second-hand cigarette smoke, their babies are at risk of
having lower birth weights and show an increased risk of Sudden Infant Death
Syndrome (SIDS), just as the babies of smoking mothers do. If father and mother
both smoke, the risk of SIDS is nearly double.
NO SMOKING ALLOWED|
The bottom line is DO NOT SMOKE. If you smoke, seek help today and quit.
It's easier to quit than be faced with a baby who has problems because of
maternal smokingnot to mention the guilt you will feel knowing this can injure
the baby. Insist that those around you respect lifeyour growing babyand not
smoke in the same room with you. If you work in a smoke-contaminated
environment, ask for a reassignment (pregnant women have a legal right to work
in a smoke-free environment).