Every woman is urged to stop smoking during pregnancy as early as possible, advises American neuroscientist Lise Eliot. Why pregnant women should not smoke or be exposed to secondhand smoke and the consequences of smoking during pregnancy for an unborn baby can be found here.

Consequences of smoking in pregnancy

Each dose of nicotine leads to a reduced supply of blood to the fetus with oxygen and nutrients through a reduced blood flow to the placenta and thus to growth and developmental disorders. The previously known consequences include:

  • An increased risk of miscarriage or premature birth
  • Too low birth weight
  • Problems at birth
  • An increased risk of birth defects, congenital heart defects or mental disabilities
  • The increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SID)
  • Hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavioral disorders, speech disorders, and school-age learning difficulties
  • The development of allergies and respiratory diseases such as asthma

The harm that can be done to a child when their mother smokes during pregnancy is also known as fetal tobacco syndrome.

Underweight of the newborn as risk underestimated

Especially the underweight of newborns has been underestimated as a health risk. Because even if the lightweights have caught up with the non-smoking babies on the scales after a few weeks. The difference is not out of the question: babies who are too light at birth and have to gain a lot during the first weeks of life in order to reach a normal weight When adults come they are often plagued by morbid obesity – a fate that every responsible mother should spare her child as much as possible.

Children often become smokers themselves later

The consequences for children who are already exposed to nicotine during pregnancy are far greater than many smokers want to admit. Thus, the direct health damage of the child is at very high risk that it later becomes a smoker himself. It does not matter if the mother smokes herself or if the pregnant woman is exposed to the smoke of others.

Smoking During Pregnancy

Pregnant smoking: late effects of nicotine

The cigarette consumption during pregnancy but has more late effects for the baby. In a long-term study published in the British health journal BMJ, which began in 1958, 17.000 women were asked about their smoking habits during pregnancy and their children’s health status was documented over many years.

The results were clear: Of the children whose mothers had smoked during pregnancy, at the age of 33, they had a significantly higher incidence of diabetes or overweight than the control group who had no contact with the neurotoxin nicotine in the womb. Apparently, the mother’s addiction to her unborn child causes a life-long metabolic disorder.

Stop: 6 tips for quitting smoking during pregnancy

A smoking cessation is recommended at any time during pregnancy – the sooner the better. The following tips can help you successfully stop smoking during pregnancy:

  1. Talk to your GP or gynecologist about your intention to receive support and advice.
  2. If your partner also smokes, you should stop together – so you can mutually support and motivate each other.
  3. A conscious change in diet, which often occurs on the occasion of a pregnancy, can help to prevent an unintentional weight gain as a result of smoking cessation.
  4. Relaxation techniques such as yoga or autogenic training are helpful ways to get a better grip on stress and tension.
  5. If you’re about to relapse, remember: nicotine replacement drugs like nicotine patches or gums are still better than cigarettes because they still contain other toxic substances that can harm your baby. Talk to your doctor about this.
  6. Do not forget: Any non-smoked cigarette is a success and helps protect your baby’s health.

If the smoke stop succeeded, you will remain strong even after pregnancy. Because even during breastfeeding or during the later development of your baby, smoking does not only harm the health of your child, but also your own.


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