What Can Happen to a Baby If the Mother Smokes and Drinks During Pregnancy

Topics: Pregnancy, Childbirth, Obstetrics Pages: 3 (879 words) Published: May 16, 2011
Katherine Williams

What can happen to a baby if the mother drinks alcohol while she is pregnant? What can happen is if the mother smokes cigarettes while she is pregnant? Research and report on the dangers of smoking and drinking by pregnant women in reference to their unborn children. Cigarette smoke reaches the fetus through the placenta which is the tissue that connects the mother and fetus. Among other important functions, the placenta provides nutrients to the fetus. When nicotine and carbon monoxide, the toxins in cigarette smoke and second-hand smoke, enter the body and they reach the placenta resulting in deprivation it of oxygen and nutrients. When an expecting mother inhales tobacco smoke from a cigarette, some of the chemicals are exhaled immediately and leave the body, but others stay in the body and make their way into the placenta. The unborn child, as well as inhaling the mainstream smoke that the mother breathes in from the cigarette, which stays in her body, it may also inhale any secondhand smoke that is in the air. This would mean that the growing fetus would be negatively affected by two different types of smoke.

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, a stillborn baby, a premature baby, or a baby with birth defects. Smoking damages the fetal lungs, which develop early and are exposed longer than other organs to tobacco toxins, as there is a direct link to a child’s susceptibility to respiratory diseases. It also harms the fetal brain by interfering with the placental exchange of oxygen. Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to give birth to a low birth weight baby. This is a concern because smaller babies are more likely to be ill, to need special care, and to stay longer in hospital. They are also more likely to die at birth or within the first year. A pregnant woman who smokes runs a higher risk of placenta previa (abnormal implantation of the placenta), abruptio placenta (premature separation of the...
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