Most women know that smoking during pregnancy puts a big amount of stress on the unborn baby. However every fifth pregnant woman keeps on smoking. The foundation for child health in Munich states that with every single cigarette the risk of the baby being impaired in its development and that its health is harmed grows. The consequences for the affected children are versatile. Nicotine impedes the fetuses development in the womb.
When the mother smokes during pregnancy the unborn child is unprotected against the poisonous pollutants. Nicotine narrows the blood vessels of the pregnant woman. As a result the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the fetus in the womb is impaired. This can have severe consequences. The chronic lack of sufficient oxygen and nutrients can lead to premature birth or in worse cases even to miscarriage or stillbirth, because due to the lack of nutrient and oxygen supply the development of the baby is already impaired in the womb. The development of the brain also suffers from the effects of smoking during pregnancy. Nicotine impairs the efficiency and IQ of the unborn in the womb and raises the risk, that the child will become addicted to nicotine in the future as well.
Smoking during pregnancy also has consequences for the child after the birth. Babies of mothers who smoked during their pregnancy are, due to the insufficient supply of nutrients during the birth, principally smaller and weigh less than those of abstinent mothers.
<<Children of smokers are born with a lower birth weight and can’t make up for this deficit; in addition they’re more prone to damage and children’s illnesses and exhibit a higher mortality>>, explains the federal health office (BAG). According to a British study the smoking of one pack of cigarettes daily raises the danger of sudden crib death by a factor of seven.
The risk of falling sick to asthma or to develop diverse allergies in the teenage years is 30% higher for kids whose mothers smoked actively or passively during their pregnancy. The carcinogenic substances in the cigarettes also raise the risk of the child falling sick to leukemia later in life. New studies have shown that children, who were exposed to nicotine in the womb, often later have learning difficulties or even developed ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
Smoking during pregnancy should be a no-go. Sadly some mothers aren’t able to stay away from cigarettes. Complete abstinence from smoking is indeed the best way, but a strong restriction also lowers the risks for the unborn child considerably. Provided a mother smokes during pregnancy, the unborn child’s health should be under permanent surveillance. That is the only way to promptly diagnose eventual dangers and take measures to preserve the health.
Breast milk provides the optimal supply of life essential nutrients like fat, carbohydrates, protein, vitamins, minerals and micronutrients for the newborn. It contains antibodies, which protect the baby from infections and prevents allergies.
When the mother smokes, the harmful substances end up in the mother’s milk. The result: Less milk is produced and the composition of the milk changes. The smoke’s poisonous substances are taken in by the infant through the mother’s milk.
A large amount of the women, who successfully avoided cigarettes during their pregnancy, go back to smoking within a year. A possible explanation for this return to old smoking habits is that for many women the reasons for quitting fall away due to the birth of the child and the weaning. Multiple burdens and a distinctive experience of stress in many cases also lead women to start smoking again after the birth of their child. It is often overlooked, that the smoking can also harm the child after infancy.
As the toddler also smokes passively and inhales the tobaccos poisonous particles, which collect in carpets and clothing for example. Not to forget the role model function as parents: A smoking mother or a smoking father increases the risk that the child will smoke in the future as well.