Smoking and Pregnancy

Although fewer women are smoking during their pregnancy now than in the past, the habit still persists among many women. Even if a pregnant woman does not smoke, she may be exposed to secondhand smoke in the household, in the workplace, or in social settings. Babies of mothers who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have reduced fetal growth and low birth weight.

There is also new research about the dangers from third-hand smoke which is the chemicals, particles, and gases of tobacco that are left on hair, clothing, and furnishings. Researchers believe the effects of carbon monoxide (which reduces oxygen in the blood) and nicotine (which stimulates certain hormones) cause many of these adverse effects.


Smoke can be damaging to a fetus in several ways and may cause the following:

·       Low birthweight 

·       Preterm birth

·       Stillbirths

·       Increased risk of birth defects

·       Subsequently, babies born to smokers may also have the following problems:

·       Poor lung development

·       Asthma and respiratory infections

·       Increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)

·       Physical growth deficiency

·       Intellectual development deficiency

·       Behavioral problems


The mother may also experience problems during her pregnancy as a result of smoking, including, but not limited to, the following:

·       Placental complications

·       Preterm labor

·       Infections in the uterus


However, if a woman quits smoking early in her pregnancy, she increases her chance of delivering a healthy baby.

If you have questions about the risks of smoking during pregnancy, call (314) 996-5433 or email us to make an appointment to speak with a doctor.