Smoking During Pregnancy


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Nearly nine percent of pregnant women still smoke during their pregnancy. Now, scientists are finding the effects of this unhealthy habit may be worse, and more long-term, than they ever thought.

Everyone has heard smoking is bad for your health. But lighting up while pregnant may be more harmful than previously thought! In a new study, researchers found even a small amount of cigarettes during pregnancy can be serious.

“We found that just smoking a single cigarette a day during pregnancy doubles your risk of sudden unexpected infant death,” explained Tatiana M. Anderson, PhD, a neuroscientist at Seattle Children’s Research Institute.

An experiment in animals found smoking during pregnancy may even affect future generations. Scientists discovered that second-hand smoke not only damaged the lung development of fetuses, but also second-generation animals that had never been exposed to smoke. Other research has linked smoking during pregnancy to birth defects, asthma, bronchitis, ear infections, and pneumonia.

“It’s become more real to me that this is something that’s unacceptable and it’s something that we need to change,” shared John Kahan.

A change your children, and maybe even grandchildren, might thank you for one day.

Currently, the FDA is proposing 13 new warnings for cigarette packs and ads, which include two danger notices on the effects of smoking and children. One states: “Smoking during pregnancy stunts fetal growth” and the other reads: “Tobacco smoke can harm your children.”

Contributors to this news report include: Julie Marks, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.

REPORT #2810

BACKGROUND: Studies show that 12 to 20 percent of pregnant women smoke, and over 1,000 babies in the U.S. die each year because their mothers smoked while pregnant. When someone smokes, they inhale poisons such as nicotine, lead, arsenic, and carbon monoxide. These poisons get into the placenta, which is the tissue that connects a mother to her baby and sends oxygen and nutrients and eliminates wastes. These poisons keep the baby from getting the proper supply of nutrients and oxygen that he or she needs to grow. Women who smoke have more difficulty becoming pregnant and have a higher risk of never becoming pregnant, and studies also suggest a relationship between tobacco and miscarriage. Smoking can cause tissue damage in the unborn baby, particularly in the lung and brain, suggesting a link between maternal smoking and cleft lip.

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HEALTH RISKS TO THE BABY : According to the American Lung Association, smoking during pregnancy is estimated to account for 20 to 30 percent of low-birth-weight babies, 14 percent of preterm deliveries, and about 10 percent of all infant deaths. New studies have shown that if a woman is around second-hand smoke during pregnancy, there are added risks and a greater chance of having a baby that weighs too little and having health problems. Smoking during pregnancy can cause a baby to have more colds, lung problems, learning disabilities, and physical growth problems. And, if a mother continues to smoke after the baby is born, the baby is susceptible to more colds, coughs, and middle-ear infections because babies have very small lungs, and smoke from cigarettes makes it harder for them to breathe. This can cause the baby to get bronchitis and even pneumonia. Recent studies are now linking babies and young children who are exposed to third-hand smoke, having an increased risk of asthma, breathing problems, learning disabilities and cancer. Third-hand smoke is made up of gases and toxins that remain in people’s clothes and hair, in carpet, furniture, and drapes. Because brains are still developing in babies and young children, they are more susceptible to these toxins.


MARIJUANA USE AND PREGNANCY RESEARCH: More research is needed on how marijuana use during pregnancy could impact the health and development of infants, especially given changing policies about access to marijuana. One study found that about 20% of pregnant women 24-years-old and younger screened positive for marijuana. There is currently no human research connecting marijuana use to the chance of miscarriage, although animal studies indicate that the risk for miscarriage increases if marijuana is used early in pregnancy. Some associations have been found between marijuana use during pregnancy and future developmental and hyperactivity disorders in children. Research has also shown that pregnant women who use marijuana have a 2.3 times greater risk of stillbirth. Given the potential of marijuana to negatively impact the developing brain, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends that obstetrician-gynecologists counsel women against using marijuana while trying to get pregnant, during pregnancy, and while they are breastfeeding.


* For More Information, Contact:

Lindsay Kurs, Public Relations

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