Smoking during pregnancy

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Updated: 4/11/2007 2:50 pm
Not smoking is one of the best gifts you can give your unborn child. Studies show that women who do not smoke are more likely to deliver healthy babies of normal birth weight than women who smoke. In fact, smoking cigarettes during pregnancy has been proven to be directly associated with low birth weight, premature births, miscarriages, and other complications. Children of women who smoke ten or more cigarettes per day while pregnant are 50 percent more likely to develop cancer later in life. While there are no safe levels of smoking, if you must smoke, the fewer cigarettes the better. The risk of a low birth weight or stillborn child increases the more you smoke. Experts feel that the risk of delivering a low birth weight baby may be reduced if a woman gives up smoking before the third month of pregnancy. Smoking during the time of breast feeding is also not advisable, since the nicotine will be passed on to the baby through the breast milk and passive smoke will be inhaled by the baby. Remember: babies born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy and after delivery have higher incidences of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS (sids), also known as crib death. Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are more susceptible to respiratory problems in early childhood, and may be slightly behind their age group in physical growth. If either parent continues to smoke after the baby is born, the child may have a greater risk of developing bronchitis or pneumonia. For more information on smoking during pregnancy, contact a health care professional.

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