The adverse effects of tobacco smoking on health is known to everyone. Tobacco smoke is a mixture of around 5000 chemicals including, carbon monoxide, hydrogen cyanide, carcinogens, nicotine, and lead. The two most harmful chemicals that are present in tobacco smoking are nicotine and carbon monoxide.
Nicotine is an active ingredient in tobacco which is responsible for the majority of negative effects. The effects of cigarette smoking on pregnant women and developing fetus are numerous and these effects can stay with an unborn for the rest of life. In fact, the harmful chemicals that are present in cigarette smoking significantly related to an increased risk of abortion.
Smoking during pregnancy has a serious impact on the growth of the fetal. Several studies have shown that maternal smoking during pregnancy can lead to failure of the child to achieve the average birth weight that is appropriate according to the sex. Restricted fetal growth has been associated with lower intellectual attainment in childhood and it can be preceded by an impairment of cognitive function in early childhood. Smoking during pregnancy can also lead to premature delivery and the effects of smoking can be severe in this case.
Also, according to the researchers, there is a relationship between the smoking and the body mass of the fetal, one pack smoked during pregnancy leads to 2.8 g decrease in the fetal body mass. Carbon monoxide which is one of the harmful chemicals present in tobacco smoke is responsible for the low birth weight of an unborn. Carbon monoxide increases carboxyhemoglobin levels in the umbilical arteries. It inhibits the delivery of oxygen to the cells and causes fetal hypoxia.
2. Brain development
Smoking during pregnancy can have a direct impact on the development and functioning of the fetal brain. Early child neurodevelopment plays an important role in preserving human intelligence but maternal smoking during pregnancy is highly linked to the decrease in the size of the fetal brain. The brain size of the children of the mother who smoked during pregnancy is small as compared to the brain size of the children of the mother who didn’t smoke during pregnancy.
Numerous studies have suggested that tobacco smoking during childhood diminishes the functioning of some of the important parts of the brain such as cerebellum and corpus callosum. The cerebellum plays an important role in motor control and it is also involved in cognitive functions such as attention, coordination, and language. Any damage to this organ causes disorders in movement, posture and motor learning. Corpus callosum is responsible for joining the two hemispheres of the brain.
Multiple studies agree that maternal smoking during pregnancy promotes increased body mass index in children. It is highly believed that chemicals that are present in tobacco smoking play an important role in the increased risk of obesity. Children whose mother smoked during pregnancy are at 50% increased risk of being overweight as compared to those children whose mother didn’t smoke during pregnancy. Maternal smoking during smoking can result in decreased fetal growth and rapid postnatal weight gain and both these factors are highly associated with the risk of developing obesity. Also, fetal exposure to nicotine leads to abnormal cell proliferation and differentiation.
4. Cardiovascular disease
Maternal smoking during pregnancy affects the cardiovascular health of the offspring and the risk of fetal congenital heart defect is high in children whose mother smoked during pregnancy. Numerous studies suggest that prenatal maternal smoking influences the blood pressure of the child and hypertension is the most common problem in the children. Hypertension is a condition which occurs when the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently high. It is also known as high blood pressure. Prenatal maternal smoking can also lead to reprogramming of infant blood pressure control mechanism.
5. Respiratory disorders
Children whose mother smoked during pregnancy are at increased risk of suffering from respiratory problems such as asthma, impaired lung function, bronchitis, and airway hyperresponsiveness. Childhood asthma is a chronic serious disorder which appears as a coughing, rapid breathing, tiredness, and reduced energy. Allergies are one of the major risk factors that are associated with the development of asthma. Nicotine increases the production of cellular mediators which in turn leads to an increase in immunoglobulin. Also, tobacco exposure enhances allergic inflammatory responses.
We all have heard that Cigarette smoking kills and we know that smoking adversely affects the health of a person but are you aware that if a woman smokes during the pregnancy, she has risked the life of her unborn baby.