Thursday, December 5, 2013

So How Exactly Does Smoking Affect A Fetus

How Does Smoking Affect a Fetus?

How Does Smoking Affect a Fetus?

Smoking during pregnancy is never a good idea, as it can severely affect the unborn child. The nicotine in cigarettes can cause artery spasms. Because blood is sent to the placenta via these arteries, these spasms can reduce the amount of oxygen and nutrients that the baby receives. As a result of nutrient and oxygen deficiency, the child is more likely to have a low birth weight. In fact, women who smoke heavily are twice as likely to give birth to a baby weighing less than 5 ½ pounds. Additionally, smoking can also increase the risk of premature delivery, which can lead to health conditions such as metal retardation, cerebral palsy and even death. The good news, however, is that women who stop smoking by the end of their second trimester drastically reduce their risk of having a premature or low birth weight baby.

Complication Risks

In addition to premature birth and low birth weight, smoking is also proven to cause pregnancy complications. Women who smoke during their pregnancy are twice as likely to encounter heavy bleeding during their delivery. This severe bleeding is usually a result of placental abruption, which occurs when the placenta separates from the uterus prematurely. The baby's oxygen and nutrient supply is cut off as a result of this separation, which may lead to major problems in both the mother and her child. In order to minimize the risks for both patients, doctors will often choose to perform a cesarean section if they believe the mother is experiencing placental abruption.

Effects of Carbon Monoxide

The carbon monoxide found in cigarette smoke may also harm an unborn child. When a person smokes, he or she inhales carbon monoxide, which then replaces oxygen and is carried through the blood stream via blood red cells. As a result, the fetus does not receive any oxygen and will make more red blood cells in an effort to increase the oxygen supply. If the fetus makes too many red blood cells, however, its blood may become too thick and cut off the blood supply to the unborn child's organs, resulting in death.

Long Term Effects

Although some women who smoke may give birth to a healthy baby, due to the long term effects of smoking, the child may develop health problems in the future. Recent studies indicate that children who were exposed to cigarettes during pregnancy are far more likely to develop learning disabilities and brain malformations. So even if your child is born with no abnormalities, future health problems may occur.

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