1. It’ s Harder to Get Pregnant.
Research has shown that it can be more difficult for smoking women to get pregnant, 2 so if you’ re thinking about having children, it would be to your advantage to stop smoking well before trying to get pregnant.
2. Increased Risk of Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Ectopic Pregnancy
Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, 3 and ectopic pregnancy. And, although it has not yet been proven, research strongly suggests that the same risks are present for women who have quit or never smoked and are exposed to secondhand smoke before or during pregnancy.
3. Placenta Previa Risk.
Pregnant smokers have an increased risk for placenta previa, 5 a condition in which the placenta is attached to the uterine wall too close to the cervix. Women with placenta previa often have to give birth by cesarean section.
4. Placenta Abruption Risk.
Placenta abruption occurs when the placenta detaches from the uterus prematurely. This can cause preterm delivery, stillbirth, and even early infant death. Pregnant smokers are 1. 4 to 2. 4 times more likely to have this condition develop as compared to their nonsmoking counterparts.
Premature Rupture of Amniotic Membranes.
Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to experience premature rupturing of the amniotic sac, making it more difficult for them to carry to full gestational term.
6. Smaller Babies.
Scientists have found a cause and effect relationship between smoking or secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy and low birth weight. 8 Low birth weight is one of the leading causes of infant death in the United States.
7. Increased Cleft Lip/Cleft Palate Risk
Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that occur when the lip and/or mouth don’ t form properly during early pregnancy. Research has shown that the risk of these defects is higher for babies whose mothers smoked during the early months of pregnancy.
8. Increased SIDS Risk
Babies born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy are at an increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). 11 Babies who live in a home tainted with secondhand smoke also face an increased risk of SIDS.
9. Reduced Oxygen to the Fetus
Researchers suspect that nicotine in the mother’ s bloodstream may constrict blood vessels in the umbilical cord and uterus, reducing the amount of oxygen to the unborn child. 12 Nicotine may also limit the amount of blood supplied to the fetal cardiovascular system.