Effects of Smoking on Unborn Children
Smoking in the United States and the world over is a major health problem. Moreover, smoking during pregnancy not only can harm the mother but also the unborn child. During 2006 at least 10 percent of pregnant women in the United States smoked during pregnancy. (1) According to the U.S. Public Health Service (3) if pregnant women in the United States quit smoking there would be a 5 percent reduction in newborn deaths and an 11 percent reduction in stillborn babies. Cigarettes contain close to 2,600 chemicals and while it is not known how many or which of these chemicals can damage a newborn baby. It is known that carbon monoxide and nicotine definitely affect an unborn baby causing an adverse reaction during pregnancy. There are many problems that can arise if a woman smokes during pregnancy. The simple fact is when a pregnant woman lights up a cigarette, the unborn baby inside her lights up as well. Expectant mothers can have a miscarriage which is the loss of the baby during the early stages of pregnancy. Stillbirth can also arise which is the loss of the baby during the later stages of pregnancy usually after the 24thweek of gestation. Another side effect of smoking during pregnancy is pre-term delivery. According to Dr. Chris Cashmanwho is a doctor in Austin, Texas; pregnant mothers who smoke are 30 percent more likely to give birth before 37 weeks gestation. A normal pregnancy is around 40 weeks gestation. Other side effects of smoking during pregnancy include possible severe vaginal bleeding, respiratory problems, low birth weight, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and fetal congenital heart malformations. (2) I spoke with 3 random strangers in the mall and asked them what they thought of women who smoked during pregnancy. The answers provided were unanimous in that all 3 persons agreed that smoking during pregnancy definitely alters the gestation. One lady stated that she had a cousin who had recently given...
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