Effects of Prenatal Exposure to Tobacco Smoke
Instructor: Blake Peart
January 8, 2013
“Children aged four to six who were exposed to smoking in the womb were 39 percent more likely to have wheeze and 65 percent more likely to have asthma” (Daily Mail Reporter 2012, p.2). That is only a couple of after effects of exposure to tobacco. There are numerous harmful, damaging and long term effects cigarette smoke has on fetuses. Smoking can cause heart defects, low birth weight, pregnancy complications, still birth, and can even induce spontaneous abortion. The list goes on to even long term effects like, growth and development, respiratory disorders, and behavior.
The first month of pregnancy has a crucial impact on the baby’s life. Harmful effects of smoking causes complications of the baby’s fetal respiratory system. This can happen very early during the pregnancy, perhaps even before the woman may know she’s pregnant. Maternal smoking is riskiest during the first trimester of pregnancy. Research has shown that smoking during early pregnancy boosts the risk of preschool children having asthma and wheezing problems, even if they aren’t exposed to smoke after birth. But smoking by the mother in the third trimester or the first year of life didn't boost the risk of the conditions.
Babies born to smoking mothers are twice as likely to have congenital heart disease when they’re older. CHD is a problem with the heart’s structure which arrives at birth and is the most common type of birth defect. This affects the walls of the heart, the valves inside the heart, and the arteries and veins that carry blood to the heart. A study found that smoking during the first trimester risked you to a 70% likelihood of infant heart defects.
Low birth weight is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces. About 1 in every 12 babies in the United States is born with low birth weight. Smoking slows the growth and...