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Smoking and your baby
Not only is smoking harmful to you, it's also harmful to your baby during pregnancy. 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 very important for helping your baby grow healthy. Smoking can also damage your baby's lungs.
Women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have:
Babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to be born:
Babies born prematurely and at low birthweight are at risk of other serious health problems, including lifelong disabilities (such as cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and learning problems), and in some cases, death.
Breathing in someone else's smoke is also harmful. Secondhand smoke during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born at low birthweight. Secondhand smoke is also dangerous to young children. Babies exposed to secondhand smoke:
New research shows that thirdhand smoke is another health hazard. Thirdhand smoke is made up of the toxic gases and particles left behind from cigarette or cigar smoking. These toxic remains, which include lead, arsenic and carbon monoxide, cling to things like clothes, hair, couches and carpets well after the smoke from a cigarette or cigar has cleared the room. That’s why you often can tell a smoker by the smell of cigarettes or cigars that linger on his clothing or in his home or car. Things like cracking the car window down while you smoke or smoking in another room aren’t enough to keep others away from the harm caused by cigarettes or cigars.
Breathing in these toxins at an early age (babies and young children) may have devastating health problems like asthma and other breathing issues, learning disorders and cancer. It's important that expecting moms and their children do their best to keep away from places where people smoke.
Reasons to quit
The sooner you quit smoking during pregnancy, the healthier you and your baby will be. It's best to quit smoking before getting pregnant. But if you're pregnant, this would be a great opportunity to kick the habit.
Some women may mistakenly think that switching to "light" or "mild" cigarettes are a safer choice during pregnancy. Other pregnant women may want to cut down on smoking rather than quitting altogether. It's true that the less you smoke, the better off baby will be. But quitting smoking is the best way to help ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy baby.
Besides, when you quit smoking, you'll never again have to go outside and look for a place to smoke. You'll also have:
Tips to quit
See also: smokefree.gov (1-800-Quit-Now), National Tobacco Cessation Collaborative, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)