Effects of smoking on Mothers
Smokers are five times more likely to develop eclampsia, which is a major cause of maternal mortality in the UK.
Effects of smoking on Mums' lungs
Smoking or secondhand smoke goes into the lungs which damages them and can make breathing more difficult.
Effects of smoking on babies' development
Due to the oxygen in mum’s blood being replaced by carbon monoxide, the supply of oxygen to the baby is restricted. This can affect the babies growth.
Smokers are more likely to deliver babies prematurely and at a much lower birth weight – up to 250g smaller. This could mean a poorly, weaker baby who struggles with the delivery – which in turn means a difficult birth for the mother.
Effects of smoking on babies' lungs
Smoking during pregnancy can damage your babies airways before they are born.
If you smoke during pregnancy your child may develop smaller airways, meaning they will struggle for oxygen in the womb. It will also make them more vulnerable to breathing problems such as asthma and chest infections when they are born.
Research has shown airflow through the breathing tubes is on average 20% lower in babies born to mothers who smoke.
Effects of smoking on babies' heart
A baby’s heart beats faster when the Mum is a smoker, this is to make up for getting less oxygen. This means that essentially the babies heart is working much harder to receive oxygen around the body.
Effects of smoking on babies' bloodstream
Over 4000 chemicals are absorbed into your bloodstream including chemicals like ammonia (toilet cleaner) and arsenic (poison) – 80% of these toxins are invisible. Another chemical is carbon monoxide, which replaces oxygen in your blood and starves the body tissue of oxygen vital to repair, regenerate and daily normal living. This means that the oxygen supply to your baby may be less and restricted.
Effects of smoking on the placenta
The placenta is the lifeline for the baby. Smoking increases risks of bleeding, placenta abruption (detaches/peels away) and placenta praevia (low lying placenta).
Women who stop smoking during the first three months of pregnancy have a lower rate of placental abruption and a lower rate of placenta praevia compared to continuing smokers. It is never too late to stop smoking whilst pregnant.