During a pregnancy there are many choices to be made and smoking should not be one of them. Smoking while pregnant can cause major effects before the birth of the child and also in the child’s future. Here are a few effects before the actual birth of the child: 1) Cigarettes contains a large number of chemicals that harm unborn babies. 2) Smoking raises the levels of carbon monoxide in your bloodstream. This gives less oxygen for baby. 3) Nicotine tightens the blood vessels, meaning the oxygen is passed over less effectively to the baby 4) Miscarriage or stillborn.
The risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome triples if the mother has smoked during pregnancy. “It is estimated that twenty-five percent of expectant mothers in the U.S. smoke throughout their pregnancies. According to a report from the Surgeon General, twenty percent of low birth weight births, either percent of preterm deliveries and five percent of all perinatal could be prevented by eliminating smoking during pregnancy.”
Not only can smoking cause considerable damage to the unborn baby, but it could affect the baby later in life. Smoking increases the chances of the baby having birth defects. For example, the child might develop severe brain damage. The baby also might be considerably light in weight. All these outcomes are extremely negative and can cause guilt.
Another thing that should be taken into consideration is secondhand smoke. Even though the smoking is not being done firsthand, there is still a big risk. Side effects of secondhand smoke are ear infections, colds, and damage to the lungs. And even though it is not definite that complications during pregnancy might not occur, the chance of putting a child at risk for the sake of smoking a cigarette should not be taken.
Women are more likely to stop smoking during pregnancy than at other times in their lives. Programs that encourage women to stop smoking before, during, and after pregnancy deserve high priority for two reasons: during pregnancy women are highly motivated to stop smoking, and they still have many remaining years of potential life.