The Dangers of Smoking in Pregnancy

Dangers of smoking in pregnancy

  • Pregnancy complications: Smoking is known to increase the chance of an ectopic pregnancy, a condition in which the fetus develops outside the uterus. The fertilized egg attaches to other organs outside the womb. It almost always ends with fetal death and is potentially fatal for the mother.
  • Fetal growth: Smoking is the number one cause of low birth weight and preterm deliveries. These are the leading causes of infant disability and death.
  • Fetal development: Smoking during pregnancy can cause tissue damage in the fetus, especially in the brain and lungs. Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke can harm the central nervous system along with impairing fetal growth. The damage from maternal smoking can last throughout childhood and into the teenage years.
  • Birth defects: 3 infants out of 100 in the United States are born with major birth defects. Women who smoke during pregnancy have an increase chance to deliver babies with cleft lip and/or cleft palate. These babies born with cleft lip or cleft palate often have problems with feeding, hearing, speech development, dental problems (including missing teeth), and middle ear infections. Surgery is needed to correct cleft defects.