Cigarettes are a common teratogen, an agent that causes damage to the developing organism, which is preventable (Berger 115). The California Environmental Protection Agency (CAL/EPA) has identified tobacco smoke and nicotine, a chemical in tobacco smoke, as substances that are harmful to unborn children (NTP). "Smoking during pregnancy may indicate that a woman is not taking a healthy approach to childbearing and, thus, may be associated with later problem behaviors for the child. For example, smoking by the mother during pregnancy is associated with substance abuse and criminal behavior in both male and female children when they reach adulthood (Child)." The major topic covered is the effects of smoking while pregnant. Miscarriages, still births, low infant birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome are some effects of smoking while pregnant. Children born to smoking mothers may also suffer more colds and other lung problems, and may have learning difficulties, and behavioral problems (NTP). Other topics covered are second hand smoke, smoking while breastfeeding, why children are more likely to become smokers, and quitting smoking. Problems can occur if a pregnant woman does not smoke herself, but is around others who smoke, known as second hand smoke. Women should not smoke while breast feeding because the chemicals in cigarette smoke can enter the breast milk (NTP). Children of mothers who smoked are more likely to become smokers themselves (Ferguson). Quitting smoking is the best for the baby and the mother. It is never too late, to quit smoking.
Effects of Smoking While Pregnant
Smoking during pregnancy is associated with many adverse outcomes for children as well as negative consequences for child health and development (Child). "Maternal smoking early in pregnancy increases risk of certain rare abnormalities, including malformation of the limbs and the urinary tract. Maternal smoking late in pregnancy reduces birthweight...
References: Berger, Kathleen Strassen (2003). The Developing Person (6th edition). New York, NY: Worth. 115-116.
Child Trends Databank (2005). Mothers Who Smoke While Pregnant. Retrieved November 7, 2005, from http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/indicators/11MothersWhoSmokeWhilePregnant.cfm.
Ferguson, Cynthia (2003). Smoking heavily during pregnancy? Offspring more likely smoke heavily, too. George Street Journal. Retrieved November 7, 2005, from http://www.brown.edu/Administration/George_Street_Journal/vol28/28GSJ08h.html.
The National Toxicology Program Center for the Evaluation of Risks to Human Reproduction (2003). CERHR: Smoking. Retrieved November 7, 2005, from http://cerhr.niehs.nih.gov/genpub/topics/smoking-ccae.html.
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