Smoking & Pregnancy
Credit: Hey, Girlfriend, California Dept. of Health Services
Second hand smoke is particularly dangerous for pregnant women and their children. All the poisons from cigarette smoke that enter a mother's
blood are passed along to her fetus. The carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen in the unborn baby's blood. That is why babies of smokers are more
likely to be born with low birth weights (less than 5 1/2 pounds) and birth defects. Each year 53,000 babies are born under weight. They are sometimes born prematurely (before 9 months) or even born dead (stillbirth). Smoking also increases a woman's chance of having a miscarriage by 24%.
Credit: California Dept. of Health Services, funded by Proposition 99, funded in 1988
A smoking mother's baby might die within the first 28 days of life from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS or "crib death"). SIDS is the sudden, unexpected death of a baby who seems very healthy. It is much more common in babies of mothers who smoke than in babies of mothers who do not smoke.
Infants and young children are very affected by second hand smoke because their lungs are weak and are just beginning to develop. Each year passive smoke causes 300,000 respiratory or lung infections in children younger than a year and a half. 15,000 of them must be hospitalized. Children of smokers have more colds, pneumonia, bronchitis, ear infections, and asthma attacks. They may suffer from coughing, wheezing, too much phlegm or mucus, burning eyes, headaches, and sore or dry mouth. In addition, smoking can make any allergies related to breathing worse.
Credit: California Dept. of Health Services, funded by Proposition 99, funded 1988
Parents, as well as all adults, should remember that they are role models for children. Children copy what they see. They learn many things, like smoking, by watching adults.
Credit: Mass Dept. of Public Health