Thursday, July 4, 2013

Results Of Nicotine On Prenatal Development

Nicotine is a toxic chemical in cigarette smoke that can be absorbed into the blood through the lungs and passed from a mother to her unborn baby. The effects of nicotine on unborn babies can be caused both by maternal smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke. Prenatal effects of nicotine exposure include miscarriage, stillbirth, growth and developmental disorders and delays, and congenital birth defects.


Women who smoke while pregnant are more likely to have a miscarriage than women who don't smoke; this may be due to genetic mutations or developmental problems in the fetus caused by chemicals in cigarette smoke.

Placental Abruption

Placental abruption is a partial or complete detachment of the placenta from the uterus, and can cause premature delivery or death of the unborn baby.

Placenta Previa

Placenta previa is the implantation of the placenta at the bottom of the uterus, and can cause problems with fetal lung development, blood vessel development and increased risk of fetal death.

Poor Growth

Nicotine restricts the amount of oxygen and nutrients received by unborn babies, causing slower accumulation of fat and muscle, which can lead to low birth weight.

Brain Development

Prenatal development of the brain can be restricted by exposure to nicotine, causing mental retardation, attention deficit disorder (ADD) and other intellectual disabilities.

Congenital Malformations

According to the Stanford University Medical Review, some research studies have found an increase in congenital malformations of the body as a result of the effects of prenatal nicotine exposure (see Resources).


Prenatal exposure to nicotine may cause genetic mutations that lead to the development of infant or childhood cancers such as leukemia and lymphoma.

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