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Q&A:
How does smoking affect my unborn child?

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Question


What effect does smoking have on my unborn child?

Answer

The fact that you are asking this question indicates that you probably realize that smoking does have a significant effect on your baby. Research studies demonstrate clearly that smoking is related to spontaneous abortion, ectopic pregnancy, preterm labor, low birthweight babies, and irregularities of the placenta (such as placenta previa, the placenta implanting too low in the uterus, or abruptio placenta, the placenta separating from the uterine wall before the baby is born). All of these complications can cause serious problems for your baby. Research is also showing that these complications can be caused by a woman's exposure to secondhand smoke during her pregnancy. Smoking has an effect on the baby after birth as well. If the mother is breastfeeding, the nicotine can pass into her breast milk, resulting in a higher incidence of respiratory problems in the first year of life. The risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is also higher in infants who are exposed to smoke in the home. The best gift you can give your baby is to stop smoking and to avoid places where you are exposed to secondhand smoke. If you find this challenge difficult to meet on your own, ask your health care providers for help and seek out a program in your community to help you achieve this important goal.

 
 
 
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