Smoking is bad for you. It can cause serious health issues, as well as cancer, heart disease, stroke and eye disease that can lead to blindness.
Smoking is bad for your unborn baby, too. When you are pregnant, the placenta grows in your womb and supplies your baby with food and oxygen. When you smoke during pregnancy, you pass harmful chemicals through the placenta and umbilical cord into your baby’s bloodstream. This can cause health problems for your unborn baby.
How does smoking affect your pregnancy?
Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely than nonsmokers to have:
How does secondhand smoke affect your pregnancy?
Secondhand smoke is when you breathe in smoke exhaled by a smoker. The smoke that burns off the end of a cigarette or cigar actually contains more harmful substances (tar, carbon monoxide, nicotine, and others) than the smoke inhaled by the smoker. If you are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke while pregnant, you have an increased chance of having a miscarriage, stillbirth, tubal pregnancy, low birth weight baby and other complications of pregnancy.
How does smoking affect your baby?
When you smoke during pregnancy, your baby is exposed to dangerous chemicals like nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar. These chemicals can lessen the amount of oxygen that your baby gets. Oxygen is really important for helping your baby grow to be healthy. Nicotine may have harmful effects on your baby’s heart, lungs and brain.
If you smoke and are pregnant, quitting now can make a big difference in your baby’s life. Here are some important tips to help you quit:
Don’t feel badly if you don’t quit right away. Keep trying! You’re doing what’s best for you and your baby.
Betsy Campbell, MPH, CEHRS, is Senior Health Educator, with Partnership HealthPlan of California, a partner of Solano Coalition for Better Health.