Maternal smoking and its effect on fetus

Maternal smoking during pregnancy does have detrimental effect on the health of both mother and the child.

A review conducted by Lange with data from about 100 countries concluded that 52.9 % of women who smoked daily also continued it during pregnancy. Reason for smoking found were different like older age, less schooling, previous gestations and abortions, unplanned pregnancies, and exposure to passive smoking Maternal smoking until 7–10 months of pregnancy causes a decrease in birth weight. This is attributed to intrauterine growth retardation and not premature birth.

There are large numbers of harsh chemicals been found in cigarette smoke e.g Nicotine, Carbon monoxide, Tar, Benzene, Heavy Metals etc. These chemicals especially Nicotine and Carbon Monoxide causes vasoconstriction in the placenta flowed by fetal ischemia. Fetal ischemia deprives fetus of adequate amount of nutrition and oxygen and impairs fetal development. Studies have also revealed fetal risk to behavioral and psychiatric problems like attention deficit, depression, hyperkinetic disorder. Therefore, pregnant women should be advised to quit smoking.

Mother who smokes are more likely to deliver their babies early also known as Preterm birth. This Preterm birth is leading cause of either disability or disease or death among newborns. Also, it has been reported that babies whose mothers smoke while pregnant or who are exposed to second hand smoke are having weaker lungs which increases risk for many health problems after birth.

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