Friday, February 22, 2013

Results Of Nicotine On The Unborn Child

Nicotine and pregnancies don't mix. Cigarette smoke is known to contain more than 4,000 chemicals, including cyanide. While smoking, nicotine makes its way into your bloodstream. If a woman is pregnant and smoking or breathing in secondhand smoke, her baby is consuming these poisons and chemicals in its blood stream. Nicotine will deplete the fetus's only source of nutrients and oxygen, and will slowly cause numerous health complications, which could ultimately result in the baby's death.

Nicotine Effects

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, eight seconds after one puff of a cigarette, your brain is already exposed to and changing from the harmful chemicals of nicotine. Nicotine is so harmful, in fact, that just one drop of pure nicotine could kill a person. When you smoke, your bloodstream is slowly taking in this drug and sending it through your body, even to your baby as it develops.

Effects of Nicotine on a Fetus

There are several side effects your baby can face if you expose him to nicotine during the pregnancy. These side effects include brain function, weight, size, lungs and developmental complications.

Brain function: Just a couple of smokes a day can have a lifetime effect on your developing baby's brain. Children exposed to smoking may have low IQs, learning disabilities and behavioral problems.

Weight and size: Just smoking half a pack a day during your pregnancy can take a half pound away from your baby's weight. Two packs a day will take up to a pound from your baby's weight.

Lungs and body: Smaller babies have smaller lungs and bodies, which means that there is a chance the lungs may not be able to function on their own. A baby exposed to too much nicotine can spend the first few weeks of her life hooked up to a respirator in order to stay alive. Babies exposed to smoking may be vulnerable to asthma problems and sudden infant death syndrome.

Minimize Effects

Although it is suggested that you don't smoke at all during pregnancy, you can stop smoking after the first four months and stand a small chance at giving birth prematurely or having a child with other health complications.

Benefits to Quitting Smoking During Pregnancy

If you're finding it difficult to quit, consider the benefits. Quitting smoking will lower the risk of having an underweight baby and will deplete the risk of have a miscarriage or premature baby. The lack of nicotine in your system will allow for more oxygen and nutrients to help your baby develop. As a mother, quitting smoking will lower your risk for heart and lung problems and it will give you more energy.

Solution to Quitting

To prevent smoking during your pregnancy, talk to your doctor about possible medications or nicotine patches. You can also quit cold turkey with support from loved ones, or slowly ween yourself from cigarettes day by day before becoming pregnant. Make a strong support system and stick to your guns; this is for both you and your baby. Avoid secondhand smoke so that you don't become addicted again.


Quitting is hard, but you can help keep your mind off smoking by keeping yourself busy. If you take up gardening or sewing, your hands will always be busy. Chew gum or mints whenever you get a nicotine craving. Plan your baby shower or shop around for baby clothes. Make a list of reasons you want to quit, and whenever you want to give in, review your list.

Expert Insight

Smoking during pregnancy accounts for 10 percent of premature deaths. It is important that you quit smoking during pregnancy to protect yourself and your baby. The effects of nicotine are irreversible and may be too late to catch and fix once they start.

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