Smoking While Pregnant – The Awful Facts

Evidence Based Facts: Smoking while Pregnant

Smoking while pregnant is a dangerous pleasure. If ever a woman could be inspired to put away smoking paraphernalia and find a substitute, such as knitting little booties, pregnancy extends that opportunity. Most people know some of the adverse health effects of smoking, but few are aware of health consequences pregnant smokers pose to their unborn child.

Lung Disease

Concentrations of nicotine and carbon monoxide impede oxygen supply to the fetus. This escalates the risk of lung disease at some point during his/her lifetime.

According to the American Lung Association 20-30% of babies with a low birth weight are born to mothers who smoked while pregnant. Even full term babies have been born with reduced lung function.

Risk of Obesity

British researchers recently determined that children born of mothers who continued smoking throughout pregnancy were 47% more at risk of Smoking While Pregnantobesity than children born of non-smoking moms.


A study funded by the National Institutes of Health, the American Asthma Foundation found that African-American and Latino children whose moms smoked while pregnant would potentially develop acute asthma symptoms as teenagers.

Researchers found in mothers who smoked during pregnancy, children experienced a 50% increase in uncontrolled asthma. Even by 17 years of age, these kids suffer from harmful effects of smoke that they were exposed to as a fetus.

According to the U.S. Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, an estimated 13.8% of American women continue to smoke during pregnancy. Among African-American women, the statistics number 18.8%; 3.8% of Mexican mothers and 6% of Puerto Rican moms continue to smoke during pregnancy.


Researchers engaged in the US autism surveillance program of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released preliminary findings that associate high-functioning autism with smoking while pregnant.

Statistics for the study were collected from smoking data on birth certificates. It spanned 11 states and included thousands of children diagnosed with autism. Thirteen percent of mothers whose children were included were found to have smoked during pregnancy.

There is a need for further studies to determine definitely that smoking during pregnancy is a risk factor for less severe autism disorders.

More Evidence Based Facts – Smoking while Pregnant

Mother at greater risk for a miscarriage or premature labor

Unborn child suffers decreased heart rate

Significant risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Placenta subject to separate from womb prematurely causing bleeding

High risk for birth defects such as cleft palate.

Useful Resources:

Can I use quitting medications during pregnancy? Quit Victoria

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Stop smoking in pregnancy

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