Smoking and Pregnancy

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Smoking during pregnancy can harm the health of both a woman and her unborn baby. Experts estimate that at least 10 percent of women in the United States smoke during pregnancy. Dr. Edward Hill discusses some of the dangers in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Smoking cigarettes causes many health problems, including cancers, heart disease and lung disease. When a pregnant woman smokes, she puts herself and her baby at risk.

Because the fetus is in contact with the mothers bloodstream, any chemicals the mother breathes or ingests can affect the fetus. This includes tobacco smoke coming from the mothers smoking or inhaling smoke in the environment.

Pregnancy complications associated with smoking include:

Low birth weight

Intrauterine growth delay

Preterm labor

Premature rupture of membranes, which may lead to preterm delivery or an infection affecting the baby

Increased rates of stillbirths, miscarriages and ectopic pregnancy

There are steps you can take to help prevent birth defects:

Do not smoke. If you do smoke, quit before planning a pregnancy.

Take a folic acid supplement.

Do not use illegal drugs.

Do not drink alcohol during pregnancy.

Control chronic medical problems, like diabetes and high blood pressure.

Poor control of these conditions can adversely affect the fetus.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.