Smoking is one
of the leading causes of lung cancer, heart disease and other major health
issues including COPD, asthma, pneumonia and infertility.
Smoking causes severe adverse effects in pregnancy
. It contributes to complications of pregnancy like preterm
labor/premature birth, placenta previa and miscarriage
. It also affects fetal well-being
and fetal development and causes birth defects including heart
and limb defects.
‘A pregnant smoker endangers the life of an innocent fetus, choking it even before it is born.’
shown the presence of placental anomalies like placenta previa in babies whose
mothers are chronic smokers. This decreases the blood supply to the fetal
tissues and can cause infant morbidity as severe as brain damage and death.
conducted by M.A. Honein et al.
showed a positive relation between maternal smoking and fetal anomalies like
hydrocephaly (abnormal accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain),
microcephaly (abnormally small head), omphalocele/gastroschisis, oral clefts,
polydactyly (extra number of fingers)/syndactyly (fused fingers)/adactyly
(absence of fingers), and clubfoot. The study used public natality data from
1997-98 to compare birth defects and some of their predisposing factors. Gastroschisis
means protruding of the
abdominal contents through the space in the anterior wall without any covering
or sac. Omphalocele refers to a protrusion of the same contents enclosed in a
sac through a defect in the anterior abdominal wall.
In January 2016,
an article was published that evaluated the relationship between
trimester-specific smoking patterns in pregnancy and preterm labor. It was
found that the risk of early or premature childbirth Ban was significant with
smoking in all the trimesters of pregnancy
, but an
early cessation of smoking before or early during
pregnancy lowered the risk of premature childbirth
are the most common types of birth defects and also the
leading cause of infant morbidity and mortality. Studies done by researchers
showed that maternal cigarette smoking during the first trimester of pregnancy
was associated with cardiac anomalies like right
ventricular outflow obstruction, atrial septal defects, truncus arteriosus and
L-transposition of the great arteries
Undescended testes in the baby
condition associated with smoking mothers leading to infertility, testicular cancer
various other additional problems.
Wei Zheng et al.
conducted a research study to
know the association between maternal smoking and low birth weight. There was a
significant association between the two; the risk of low birth weight further
with an increase in maternal age.
Cessation of smoking
pregnant women must be a primary goal in order to reduce infant mortality and
fetal anomalies. The following steps must be taken to produce this result:
- Advise to-be mothers about the
risks of smoking
- Ask history of smoking during every
- Show videos with information on risks, tips
for quitting smoking etc.
- Explain methods on how to quit
smoking through counseling sessions
self-help guide may be given
- Follow up twice monthly
motivation and support are important to quit smoking. Medications are also available to stop smoking
however their efficacy and safety in pregnancy have not been well established.
Thus, we can
conclude that maternal smoking has adverse impacts on the fetus-in-utero and
there is a need to educate the masses about these serious health effects an
innocent new born might face due to ignorance of their mothers.
References: 1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/268260312. http://www.publichealthreports.org/issueopen.cfm?articleID=1086 3. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/birthdefects/features/birthdefects-smoking-keyfindings.html 4. http://www.acog.org/Resources-And-Publications/Committee-Opinions/Committee-on-Health-Care-for-Underserved-Women/Smoking-Cessation-During-Pregnancy