Smoking While Pregnant

Smoking While Pregnant Leads to Smoking Birth Defects

Tobacco has a number of risks for adults, but smoking while pregnant also affects the health of an unborn child. Smoking not only affects the baby during gestation, it also increases the risk for smoking birth defects that last a lifetime. These smoking birth defects affect the heart and respiratory system, increasing the risk for serious consequences.

Types of Smoking Birth Defects

Smoking while pregnant increases the risk for pregnancy complications and smoking birth defects. The problems associated with smoking while pregnant include the following:

  • Increased risk of miscarriage
  • Increased risk of having a stillborn child
  • Premature birth
  • Low birth weight
  • Increased heart rate in the baby
  • Lack of oxygen available to the developing baby
  • Development of respiratory problems

Dangers of Smoking While Pregnant

Cigarettes contain several dangerous chemicals that increase the risk of health problems in the newborn. Smoking birth defects result from exposure to nicotine, carbon monoxide, tar, cyanide, sulfuric acid, formaldehyde, ammonia and other harmful cigarette ingredients. Carbon monoxide in particular affects the respiratory system, heart and blood vessels, increasing the risk for smoking birth defects.

Second-Hand Smoke Exposure

Exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy has almost as many risks as smoking while pregnant. Second-hand smoke, also called passive smoke, contains the nicotine, tar and other chemicals not inhaled by a cigarette smoker. Exposure to this type of smoke may result in smoking birth defects. Future problems caused by smoking while pregnant or exposure to passive smoke include heart disease, lung cancer, allergies, asthma and emphysema.

Smoking Cessation Tools

Nicotine patches and gum help some smokers quit by reducing withdrawal symptoms, but more research is needed to determine their effects in pregnant women. Scientists do not know if using nicotine replacement products increases the risk of smoking birth defects associated with smoking while pregnant.

Tips for Quitting

Women who want to stop smoking while pregnant can use several techniques to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked each day.

  • Avoid spending time with people who smoke
  • Drink fewer caffeinated beverages
  • Replace smoking with other activities
  • Stock your desk drawers with gum or mints
  • Exercise more often
  • Join a smoking cessation support group
  • Avoid places where people smoke frequently
  • Ask people not to smoke in your home

If your baby developed a birth defect that may be related to smoking while pregnant, contact one of the lawyers at Chaffin Luhana LLP for a free review of your case. Call 1-888-480-1123 for immediate assistance.