Smoking during Pregnancy: Dangerous Effects

Gytree Team
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Smoking during Pregnancy: Dangerous Effects

Pregnant or no pregnant smoking is ALWAYS INJURIOUS TO HEALTH, smoking during pregnancy is big no no. Smoking and pregnancy cannot go hand in hand. Cigarette smoke contains harmful toxins like carbon monoxide, nicotine, tar and many other toxins that can affect your body. 

If you are a smoker and planning to get pregnant then you must quit smoking immediately. 

Passive smoking or second hand smoking during pregnancy also affects the mother and unborn baby in the same way as active smoking . It is classified as a group A carcinogen i.e. it can cause cancer. 

Smoking during pregnancy is dangerous and significantly increases the pregnancy related complications.


Impaired fertility - First of all smoking reduces the chances of getting pregnant. Both male and female smokers tend to have more fertility issues than non smokers. It also affects the success rate of fertility treatment modalities like IVF. Quitting smoking can improve your fertility and also increase the success of IVF and other fertility enhancing procedures.

Miscarriage - Smoking in the first trimester increases the chances of abortion. The toxic chemicals in the smoke affect the tiny developing embryo that results in miscarriage. 

Birth defects - First trimester is a very crucial period during which embryos develop and important body organs are formed . Any abnormal stimuli can affect the developing embryo . Smoking increases the risk of congenital heart disease, cleft palate, cleft lip.

Smoking during Pregnancy: Dangerous Effects

Ectopic pregnancy - The Nicotine in the smoke causes abnormal contractions in the fallopian tubes . This prevents the fertilised egg from getting transported to the uterus and it gets implanted in the tube itself resulting in tubal ectopic pregnancy. It can be life threatening for mothers if not diagnosed and treated on time. 

Intrauterine growth restriction - Optimal growth of a baby in the uterus depends on its genetic potential and supply of nutrients. The supply of nutrients depends on the placental and uterine blood flow. Nicotine in the smoke causes blood vessels to become narrow and reduce the blood supply to the placenta and baby. Also the carbon monoxide in the smoke hampers the oxygen delivery to the baby. This results in restricted growth in the uterus and sometimes severe  enough to cause death of the unborn baby.


Preterm delivery - Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of  preterm delivery ie you deliver a baby before it is mature enough to live without support. 

Smoking during pregnancy can cause premature babies develop problems like: 

-difficulty in breathing immediately after delivery

-need of ventilator support 

-need of surfactant 

-feeding difficulty 


-more prone for infections

-long term complications like visual and hearing impairment, mental disorder, learning difficulties, behavioural problems

Low birth weight - Preterm delivery and intrauterine growth restriction results in low birth weight of the baby.

These babies need to be kept in the NICU for maybe a few days or sometimes even months.

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome  SIDS - Babies born to mothers who smoke are more likely prone for SIDS.

Placental Abruption - This condition occurs when the placenta starts separating from the uterus before childbirth . It causes sudden bleeding which seriously affects both the mother and baby.

Placenta Previa- Normally the placenta is attached at the upper part of the uterus, in placenta previa the placenta is attached in the lower part partially or completely covering the uterine mouth opening . This increases the chance of placenta tearing off from its attachment in later part of pregnancy resulting in excessive bleeding harmful to the mother and baby.

Smoking increases the chance of placenta previa. 

Breastfeeding is essential for the health of your baby but if you smoke during breastfeeding the nicotine and other harmful toxins can pass to your baby through the breast milk. This raises the risk of health problems like colic and causes disturbed sleep.

On long term smoking while you are pregnant can have adverse effects on your child in later years of life 

-Weaker lungs

-High risk for asthma

- Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus 

- Hypertension 

- Increased risk of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder

Quitting smoking as early as possible during pregnancy protects you and your baby . The more cigarettes you smoke the higher the risk to the baby. Each time you smoke a cigarette it reduces the oxygen supply to the baby and exposes the baby to toxic chemicals . You may find the baby's movements are reduced while you smoke. Cutting down the number of cigarettes per day is not going to reduce the risk to babies . The only way is to completely stop smoking . 

It is never too late to stop smoking. Talk to your health care provider regarding help for quitting smoking. Don’t consider yourself alone in your pregnancy journey. Talk to the Gytree’s experts or explore “Are you pregnancy ready?” Package. Nicotine replacement therapy is usually used to help people to quit smoking, however it is recommended you  try quitting without any medication. Your health and your baby's health is in your hands. So take action on time.

Pregnancy Smoking