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Smoking and pregnancy do not mix

Smoking and pregnancy don’t mix. Smoking while pregnant not only puts your own health at risk, but your unborn baby’s health as well. Cigarettes contain dangerous chemicals, includingnicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar. It has been proven that smoking significantly increases the risk of numerous pregnancy complications, some of which can be fatal for the mother or baby.

Getting Pregnant

If you are trying to get pregnant, quitting smoking is a critical first step. Not only could smoking (even in the first trimester) affect the health of your unborn baby, it could be preventing you from getting pregnant in the first place. Smoking and second-hand smoke dramatically reduce fertility in both men and women. In fact, women who smoke are 60 percent more likely to be infertile compared to nonsmokers.

Ectopic Pregnancy

Studies have found that nicotine can cause contractions in the fallopian tubes, preventing an embryo from passing through. One result of this is an ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, sometimes in the fallopian tube itself or even in the abdomen. In this situation, the embryo must be removed to avoid life-threatening complications to the mother. Smoking makes an ectopic pregnancy up to five times more likely.

  • Smoking and Pregnancy

    Smoking and pregnancy don’t mix. Smoking while pregnant not only puts your own health at risk, but your unborn baby’s health as well. Cigarettes contain dangerous chemicals, includingnicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar. It has been proven that smoking significantly increases the risk of numerous pregnancy complications, some of which can be fatal for the mother or baby.

    Click through the slideshow to learn more.

  • Getting Pregnant

    If you are trying to get pregnant, quitting smoking is a critical first step. Not only could smoking (even in the first trimester) affect the health of your unborn baby, it could be preventing you from getting pregnant in the first place. Smoking and second-hand smoke dramatically reduce fertility in both men and women. In fact, women who smoke are 60 percent more likely to be infertile compared to nonsmokers.

  • Miscarriage and Stillbirth

    The unexpected loss of a pregnancy is a tragic event, no matter what stage.Miscarriages typically occur in the first three months of pregnancy, but on rare occasions, they can occur after 20 weeks of gestation. This is called astillbirth. Smoking raises the risk of both early miscarriage and stillbirth, with the dangerous chemicals in cigarettes often to blame. Problems with the placenta or slow fetal development are also complications that can lead to a miscarriage or stillbirth.

  • Ectopic Pregnancy

    Studies have found that nicotine can cause contractions in the fallopian tubes, preventing an embryo from passing through. One result of this is an ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when a fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, sometimes in the fallopian tube itself or even in the abdomen. In this situation, the embryo must be removed to avoid life-threatening complications to the mother. Smoking makes an ectopic pregnancy up to five times more likely.

  • Placental Abruption

    Smoking is a major risk factor for several problems with the placenta, the structure that forms during pregnancy to provide the fetus with nutrients and oxygen. One such problem is placental abruption, a condition when the placenta separates from the uterus before childbirth. Placental abruption can cause severe bleeding and threaten the life of both the mother and baby. There is no surgery or treatment to reattach the placenta, but immediate medical attention can help increase the chance of a healthy birth.

  • Placenta Previa

    Smoking is a leading risk factor for placenta previa, which occurs in one out of 200 pregnancies. During pregnancy, the placenta normally moves with the uterus towards the top of the womb, leaving the cervix open for delivery.Placenta previa is when the placenta stays in the lower part of the uterus, partially or fully covering the cervix. The placenta often tears, causing excessive bleeding and depriving the fetus of vital nutrients and oxygen.

  • Preterm Birth

    Premature birth rates are on the rise in the U.S., with more than half a million babies born prematurely every year. Several studies have shown a link between smoking and early delivery. There are numerous health risks associated with a preterm birth, including:

    • visual and hearing impairments
    • mental disability
    • learning and behavioral problems
    • complications that could result in death

    Low Birth Weight

    A smoker is twice as likely to have a baby that weighs under 5.5 pounds. Low birth weight doesn’t just mean delivering a small baby—it can lead to other health problems and disabilities. Although advances in medical care have reduced the number of deaths as a result of low birth weight, it is a serious condition that can result in mental retardation, cerebral palsy, hearing or vision ailments, and the death of the baby.

    The Unfortunate Truth

    Despite the known risks, many pregnant women still smoke. According to the CDC, 13 percent of women report that they smoked during the last three months of pregnancy. Another study found that about one in four women who smoke while pregnant deny it. The only real way to avoid the pregnancy complications associated with smoking is to quit.

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