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The Dangers of Smoking Cigarettes While Pregnant

Updated on March 15, 2013

Discover why smoking is dangerous during pregnancy and the effects of smoking on you and your baby’s health and development.

I think we all know that like drinking too much alcohol, smoking is also very harmful to our health, especially when a woman is pregnant. Smoking during the pregnancy period can really harm the baby.

When you smoke, the baby inside the womb is exposed to harmful chemicals like nicotine and carbon monoxide. These chemicals can lessen the amount of oxygen that can really slow the growth in the womb, thus leading to other complications and birth defects. Remember, you are breathing for two.

I’ve seen a lot of pregnant women, like on its 7 or 8 month stage, with white sticks on their lips. Oh those killer cigarettes! It made me think of a thousand things – will the baby be alright or how will the baby survived the complications due to the harms of smoke?

I sometimes thought, they don’t love the child on their womb – well, maybe they do, but they love their self more that they just couldn’t stop their habit for a few months.

Thousands of innocent babies were born each year with defects and illnesses due to the bad habit of smoking while pregnant. The babies suffered the consequences. They also deserve the chance to grow into a healthy kid with no abnormalities or defects.

Here's the list of complications for women who smoke during pregnancy:

  • Ectopic Pregnancy – this is the pregnancy outside the uterus (usually in the fallopian tube)
  • Vaginal Bleeding
  • Fetal death – this is when the baby is still a fetus and dies in uterus
  • Spontaneous abortion – this is also known as miscarriage
  • Problems with placenta – this includes early detachment from the uterine wall and blocks the cervical opening
  • Premature labor
  • Premature rupture of the membranes
  • Respiratory problems

Effects to fetus inside / babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy:

  • Birth defects (e.g. cleft lip or palate, excess fingers or toes)
  • Retarded growth and development
  • Changes in the baby’s brains and lungs
  • Stillbirth and death of the baby in the first week
  • Risks of SUDI (Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy), which also includes SIDS or Sudden Infant Death Syndrome
  • Born prematurely
  • Low Birth weight/Underweight (about 200g less than normal) – babies are at risk of other lifelong complications and disabilities such as cerebral palsy, intellectual disabilities and learning problems.

And the list goes on.

Stopping smoking will greatly benefit your baby and your health immediately. The oxygen levels on your body will return to normal and your lungs will be smoke-free thus increasing the possibility of a healthy pregnancy. Besides, quitting smoking can really help you improve your healthy lifestyle.

I just don’t know why some women still smoke even if they know they’re pregnant. Don’t they think of complications it might cause to their babies? Some people prayed for a miracle to have a baby but others just don’t know what blessing do they already have and still don’t care if the baby will die on the process.

Couple of weeks ago, I saw a woman smoking heavily. She’s pregnant and by looking at the size of her womb, she’s already on the 8 month stage. I’m reaching out to the hearts of mothers who can’t stop smoking while they’re pregnant.

Think of your baby’s future. Think of the life they deserve after they are born. Follow what is right and not what you just want. After all, you also want to see your kid healthy and lively someday, right.

Come to think of it, are you going to take chances and put yourself and your baby's health to that white short sticks? Please don't. Life is too precious to waste.

Always remember that the more you smoke throughout the pregnancy period, the greater the risks and complications you are bringing to yourself and to the baby.

© 2012 Mycee. All Rights Reserved.


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    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Kathleen, thank you so much for the thought. Yes, a smoke-free home is one important thing a mother can do to show her love for her children. thank you for the kind visit.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 4 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Great job encouraging mothers not to smoke - and not just while they are pregnant. Smoking is just as dangerous for children as they are growing up. Giving them a smoke-free home is one of the most important things a mother can do for her children.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Mary, thank you for this. It will help discourage women and let them think of the consequences of their won actions. you know people, they only believe it when others already experienced it.

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 4 years ago from New York

      We can't be reminded enough how important it is not to smoke while pregnant. When my children were born the facts were not known, we even smoked in the hospital, in our rooms with our babies (I am embarrassed to say). My first was 2-1/2 months premature and the largest of my four children at birth was 6 lbs. 9 ozs. By the grace of God they were all we know! Thanks for this hub.

      Voted up, useful, and interesting.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      thank you so much Alicia! thanks for the kind visit.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      hi brenda. thanks much for dropping by. that little white stick is really doing great harm to both mom and baby. wish that women will always realize this thing. so sad to see that the baby ahs to suffer. Thank you so much for that message and for sharing us your own personal experience so as people will be more aware of the consequences.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Hi Mary, thank you so much for the comment and for the ups :)

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Thank you for sharing such important information, unknown spy. Smoking is dangerous for everyone, but especially for a woman and her unborn baby.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Unknown Spy, I sincerely hope many pregnant women read this and use the facts within to help themselves stop smoking. My own daughter smoked while pregnant. It is such a helpless feeling to see that and have no power to stop it. My grandson indeed almost was miscarried three times, was born prematurely and with asthma. She did cut back on smoking thankfully or who knows what the consequences would have been. I commend you for writing this article.

    • mary615 profile image

      Mary Hyatt 4 years ago from Florida

      Great advice, I hope pregnant women take this advice. One of my granddaughters smoked until she knew she was pregnant. After the baby came, she went right back to smoking!

      I voted this Hub UP, and will share.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 4 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      hi Aubrey! Thank you for supporting. Indeed smoking habit is very dangerous, pregnant or not.

    • CrazedNovelist profile image

      A.E. Williams 4 years ago from Hampton, GA

      Very informative, Unkown. I'm glad you're addressing issues such as this. It's really a terrible thing that unborn children are being affected by their parent's terrible habit.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Kath, thank you. I agree completely that for the sake of the baby and your health too, it should be really stopped.

    • Kathleen Cochran profile image

      Kathleen Cochran 5 years ago from Atlanta, Georgia

      Great information and crucially important. Smoking during pregnancy should be grounds for arrest, but going back to smoking around your newborn and other children is almost as bad. I applaud those who stop while pregnant, but I wish they understood the need to stop completely for the sake of that baby as he/she grows up.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      thank you so much Rajan. i appreciate the votes and shared.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Very useful reminder for those pregnant, Mycee. Smoking is so harmful to both the mother to be and her growing child.

      Voting it up, useful and sharing.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Dwachira, thank you for the kind visit. I also do hope too that this will shed some light and eventually for them to think twice before endangering themselves and their baby.

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 5 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      This is great information for would be parents. I do hope many would be mothers and still smoking will realize the dangers of smoking to their unborn babies. Voted up, useful and shared

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Nette, thank you for sharing your story and I hope, i really hope that women who will come across this page will really have to take heed of the warning because it really happens. Cigarettes will and can harm both and who knows what will happen.

      thank you for this Nette, it's a reminder for all pregnant women out there.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Marc, thank you for the visit and for the kind comment. appreciate it much. you are so right about drinking too like cigarette, it will also cause damage to the unborn child as well as the mother too. both will be affected and sometimes will have the tendency to have very serious effects.

    • thebluestar profile image

      Annette Donaldson 5 years ago from Northern Ireland

      As soon as I read your hub title, I knew that I had to leave a comment. My mom was a very heavy smoker all the way through her pregnancy with me. It has left me with stunted growth on my left side, my left hip is lower than my right hip by 1 1/2 ". It didn't bother me as a child but now that I am getting older, I have problems with hip pain and sometimes walking. My daughter in law also smoked heavily during her pregnancy leaving my grandson with a very flat head at the back, although it doesn't matter because his smile makes up for anything else.

      Thank you for touching a controversial topic, and one that I hope all people will relate too. Cigarettes are not just the silent killer, but are seriously not your friend.

      Nette x

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      i hope so too Ethan! and would read Trish's story about how smoking will change your child's life..

    • Ethan Green profile image

      Ethan Green 5 years ago from England

      It's amazing seeing people still smoking when pregnant. It has to be up there in the top 3 bad times to smoke, alongside cancer patients smoking outside hospitals as you see in the UK sometimes. I hope at least one pregnant smoker finds this article!

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      that's true trish.. and i really do hope that we could reach into the hearts of women who are taking a risk on their child's health.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      thank you Bruce. that's the one thing i admired most. giving up some thing for the good of others especially for your baby..coke and sodas are no no.. they should be aware of it becuase in the first place, we all know smoking is bad but they just take their chances..

    • Marc-Carillet profile image

      Marc-Carillet 5 years ago

      Useful information shared..I am very happy to read this article. Thanks for giving us nice info. Fantastic walk-through. I appreciate this post.

      Eastern drugs

    • Trish303 profile image

      Brenda 5 years ago from Springfield, MO

      You welcome. And if my story keeps just 1 mom to be from making the same mistake then I did my job. It is truly something you will never forgive your self for. To know that that small need you had and could not give up changed your child life forever is something I don't wish on my worst enemy.

    • Cogerson profile image

      Cogerson 5 years ago from Virginia

      An excellent informative hub. Smoking is so bad for you but seeing a woman that is pregnant makes me shake my head. I understand the power of freedom of choice....but what about the baby. Luckily my wife was so concerned about the baby while she was pregnant she even gave up Coke and all other sodas....and if you knew my wife you would realize how big a step that was for her. I think every pregnant woman that smokes should have to read your hub. Voted up and very informative.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Trish, thank you so much for sharing your story. I know some people wouldn't believe things unless someone they know had a real was really a risky thing to do and your child is enough reason to stop. seeing him in that condition would really tear your heart tiny and fragile. Hope everyone who happens to read this and might have the same would be brave enough to stand up for her child.. thank you Trish!

      @Tammy...thank you s much for reading.i am glad that you find this informative

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 5 years ago from North Carolina

      This is such vital information that everyone needs to follow. I didn't realize the risks were so high. Excellent hub!

    • Trish303 profile image

      Brenda 5 years ago from Springfield, MO

      I learned this first hand. I have been a smoker sice the age of 13 I stoped smoking for my first 2 kids, but on my 3rd I was a heavy smoker when I fount out I was pragnet and could not stop. My ob/gyn told me that to quite now as heavy as I was would cause some issues with my pregnancy and to cut back, So that is what I did I cut back from 2 packs a day to 1/2. my first two kids whens full term and where healthy baby's, but my youngest was not he was born at 31 weeks and 3lbs, Had to be kept in the nicu for a while, could not breastfeed because he did not have the development need to letch on, and has had deployment delays his whole life, and the only thing I can blame is smoking.

      If you are pregnant and smoking. Stop, if you don't you may have the same or worse issues then me, and will regret forever.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Hi Kelly! smoking while pregnant is really a common sense thing..that's why i just dont get it when they still break the rule everybody knows.. the child inside you is innocent and deserves to live a healthy and normal life.

    • Marc-Carillet profile image

      Marc-Carillet 5 years ago

      Avoid smoking and drinking alcohol - Do not drink any alcoholic beverages when you are pregnant. Many times, you must have heard that wine is safe during pregnancy. However, drinking any alcoholic beverage is always questionable. If you avoid drinking wine and other alcoholic drinks, you are on the safer side. Avoid drinking wine, but you can take juice, and energy drinks. Take a cup of coffee if you wish, but try to choose healthy juice.

    • KellyMediaBest profile image

      KellyMediaBest 5 years ago from Tampa, Florida

      I dont understand how cigarettes are even still legal. Smoking related deaths are the number one cause of death in the United States above EVERYTHING else (cancer, alcohol, car accidents, homocide, suicide, illegal drugs, etc.) combined! If the government won't outlaw cigarettes because they make so much money off of them, it should at least be illegal to smoke while pregnant! That isn't just your life that your endangering and harming, but an innocent unborn child's as well. Women who choose to smoke while pregnant should be heavily fined if caught by a police officer.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Hi Mark, sir Billy, Deb, Jo, KDuBarry, Amanthkr01, CArol, Starbright, jamie, Dianna, Julie, Tom, Aurelio, Toni, Mhatter..

      Thank you all for the support. This is indeed a fact we all knew way Mhatter said, we still have to "hit people on their head" with this fact. we've seen results and learned by experience but somehow, our own wants really come first.... it's really a good reminder to everyone once in a while. sometimes, they would say why do you care.. well, it's painful to see an innocent baby suffer because of carelessness.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 5 years ago from San Francisco

      What is most interesting is: though we've known this for decades, we still have to "hit people over the head" with this fact. thanks for your efforts.

    • Tonipet profile image

      Tonette Fornillos 5 years ago from The City of Generals

      Hello M. Pregnant women should read this! I'm sharing as this HAS to be read. Thanks so much for helping save unborn babies around the world. More power to you Spy!

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I hope there are no pregnant ladies out there smoking. If there are, they should read this hub. Voting this Up and Useful.

    • kashmir56 profile image

      Thomas Silvia 5 years ago from Massachusetts

      Hi M. my friend, great well written hub with all great and important information every soon to be mother should read .

      Awesome and vote up !!!

    • Julie DeNeen profile image

      Blurter of Indiscretions 5 years ago from Clinton CT

      Excellent job here. My mom smoked during her pregnancy with me, and thankfully I turned out okay...However, I did realize that there is a link between smoking moms and generalized anxiety disorder, which I have. Voting up!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 5 years ago

      I too have seen pregnant women still smoking when they are almost ready to deliver. You just want to shout out to them on the dangers, but would they listen? Great advice here and hope it does make someone think about their habit. Voted way up.

    • jhamann profile image

      Jamie Lee Hamann 5 years ago from Reno NV

      My wife quite during our sons and our daughters birth. We are expecting our third, this is not much of an issue to us now, but I feel it is very important that people understand the implications on the unborn child. Thank you for writing this I am going to share. Jamie

    • starbright profile image

      Lucy Jones 5 years ago from Scandinavia

      Only a fool doesn't fear tobacco. The devastation and havoc nicotine does to those who smoke is tremendous. The thought of what that would do to an unborn infant is nothing short of horrific. Voted up with thanks.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 5 years ago from Arizona

      If this doesn't stop women from smoking I don't know what will. I am always amazed how women can jeopardize their unborn baby. Thanks for sharing this great hub and hope people will read and follow. Voted UP and shared.

    • amanthkr01 profile image

      Aman Thakur 5 years ago from India

      Smoking is dangerous to all age groups and genders but at pregnancy it can act as poison to the fetus. Your hub can act as a timely reminder for all those expected mothers who smoke.

      To have a healthy and sound baby it is indispensable that mothers should keep themselves away from smoking and drinking.

      Voted up and shared.

    • profile image

      KDuBarry03 5 years ago

      Great information and very helpful! My mom is a smoker, but she quite for 5 years when she was pregnant with my brother and then, soon after, pregnant with me. Both of us were born on time, or a week before, the due date. Smoking definitely affects your child's health and may lead to many issues in the growth of the fetus. I just shared, tweeted, and pinned this hub. Great information.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 5 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      There is really no excuse for smoking and drinking during pregnancy anymore, there are so much information on the harm this can cause. But still people think it will not happen to them.

      Unknown, another well written informative hub.

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      Yes, Mycee, I can testify to low birth weight. I was 22 inches long and 5 pounds, 11.5 ounces. Up and awesome for those that have no control over this.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      @Michelle.. thanks for the share! Appreciate your support Michelle. I am so glad, thank you. Huggs.

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Hi Faith, it happens a lot around here, especially those who couldnt afford extras.. I mean, I saw this woman everyday, selling cigars on streets, pregnant and holding a cig on her hand. It's sad to think the baby has to suffer what she was doing..

    • unknown spy profile image

      IAmForbidden 5 years ago from Neverland - where children never grow up.

      Hello Alecia. Thank you for reading! The baby's health is more important than those white sticks. Yeah guess it should be stopped not only when you are pregnant..smoking is really harmful and can cause cancer. I dont know why some women cant stop smoking esp when they're's a risky thing to do.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Drinking and smoking...the two greatest killers....great information my young friend.

    • Curiad profile image

      Mark G Weller 5 years ago from Lake Charles, LA.

      This is a great message M, Smoking is bad all the way around and especially for mothers to be.

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 5 years ago from Singapore

      Great reminder for all mothers, or anyone, not to smoke. A great reminder of all the potential dangers as well! Thanks for the great write, spy. Votes up, and I'm sharing.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 5 years ago from southern USA

      I just cannot understand why any pregnant woman would continue to smoke, as she has to know it is harming the baby. I know smoking is one of the hardest addictions to kick, but when you are talking about the health of the baby, that is priority and you just do whatever it takes to stop! Great hub. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      My mom was a smoker but as soon as she found out she was pregnant she stopped. She picked it back up after I was born but in general I think smoking should be avoided. But you bring up good points about smoking while pregnant- it cuts of the baby's oxygen supply and opens up many dangers. I know smoking is an addiction but I think a healthy baby is an excellent reason to quit. Great hub!