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How Does Smoking Affect Your Pregnancy?

Most people know that smoking causes cancer and other major health problems. And smoking while you’re pregnant can cause serious problems, too. Your baby could be born too early, have a birth defect, or die from sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Even being around cigarette smoke can cause health problems for you and your baby.

It’s best to quit smoking before you get pregnant. But if you’re already pregnant, quitting can still help protect you and your baby from health problems. It’s never too late to quit smoking.

If you smoked and had a healthy pregnancy in the past, there’s no guarantee that your next pregnancy will be healthy. When you smoke during pregnancy, you put your health and your baby’s health at risk.

Smoking can cause fertility problems for you or your partner. Women who smoke have more trouble getting pregnant than women who don’t smoke. In men, smoking can damage sperm and contribute to impotence (erectile dysfunction, or ED). Both problems can make it harder for a man to father a baby when he and his partner are ready.

How Does Smoking Affect Fertility?

Smoking can cause fertility problems for you or your partner. Women who smoke have more trouble getting pregnant than women who don’t smoke. In men, smoking can damage sperm and contribute to impotence (erectile dysfunction, or ED). Both problems can make it harder for a man to father a baby when he and his partner are ready.

How Can Smoking Harm You and Your Baby?

  • Your baby may be born too small, even after a full-term pregnancy. Smoking slows your baby’s growth before birth.
  • Your baby may be born too early (premature birth). Premature babies often have health problems.
  • Smoking can damage your baby’s developing lungs and brain. The damage can last through childhood and into the teen years.
  • Smoking doubles your risk of abnormal bleeding during pregnancy and delivery. This can put both you and your baby in danger.
  • Smoking raises your baby’s risk for birth defects, including cleft lip, cleft palate, or both. A cleft is an opening in your baby’s lip or in the roof of her mouth (palate). He or she can have trouble eating properly and is likely to need surgery.
  • Babies of moms who smoke during pregnancy—and babies exposed to cigarette smoke after birth—have a higher risk for SIDS.

How Can a Premature Birth Harm Your Baby?

If you smoke during pregnancy, you are more likely to give birth too early. A baby born 3 weeks or more before your due date is premature.5 Babies born too early miss important growth that happens in the womb during the final weeks and months of pregnancy.

The earlier a baby is born, the greater the chances for serious health problems or death. Premature babies can have:

  • Low birth weight
  • Feeding difficulties
  • Breathing problems right away
  • Breathing problems that last into childhood
  • Cerebral palsy(brain damage that causes trouble with movement and muscle tone)
  • Developmental delays (when a baby or child is behind in language, thinking, or movement skills)
  • Problems with hearing or eyesight

Premature babies may need to stay at the hospital for days, weeks, or even months.

Source
Cdc

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