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Effects of Smoking in Pregnancy!
Around 30 per cent of women who smoke in Britain continue to smoke during pregnancy. Cigarettes affect the mother’s circulation, which in turn will affect the baby. A baby in the womb is completely dependent on the mother to supply it with oxygen, feed it and filter out all the dangerous chemicals.
o “The placenta (after birth) is the lifeline between mother and child. When a pregnant woman smokes, the oxygen in her blood is replaced by carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that deprives the muscles, brain and body tissues of oxygen, making the baby’s heart work harder. If the baby is deprived of oxygen, will suffer from its effects, which is known as hypoxia The effects of hypoxia occur over a long period of time The most immediate effect on the baby is his/her movements inside the womb slow down and the heart rate increases as the baby tries to get more oxygen There is reduction of the baby’s movements up to thirty minutes after the mother smoked one cigarette.
o “The placenta supplies the baby with nutrients; smoking increases the chance that the baby will be born smaller than expected. (Low birth weight baby). Research suggests that some women see a low birth weight baby as an advantage, but there is so much evidence to the contrary. If a baby is smaller at birth, it will continue to be smaller throughout its development.Low birth weight babies are more likely to need intensive care.
o ” The placenta acts as a barrier/filter for certain substances. Unfortunately, it cannot keep them all and many pass through. Nicotine, carbon monoxide and other chemicals in tobacco smoke are transferred to the baby. There are 4,000 chemicals in cigarettes, of which there are more than 30 Known Carcinogens A German study found traces of NNK, (nicotine-derived nitrosaminoketone), one of the most potent cancer-causing agents found in tobacco products, in 22 out of 31 newborns of mothers who smoked during pregnancy.
Effects of nicotine
Nicotine travels through the bloodstream to the brain and is then delivered to the rest of the body.
80% of nicotine is broken down to cotinine by enzymes in the liver. Accumulation of cotinine can act on the uterus causing it to contract or cause labor to begin. Many chemicals, including nicotine, can easily pass from the mother’s bloodstream into the fetus’s bloodstream. (This is why doctors are so cautious about the over-the-counter and prescription drugs women take while pregnant.) If you smoke while you’re pregnant, your baby will be exposed to almost the same level of nicotine as you. This means that after he or she is born and no longer receives intravenous nicotine, nicotine withdrawal symptoms are likely to occur.
Clinical studies have reported that nicotine concentrations in the placenta, amniotic fluid, and fetal serum were consistently higher than maternal serum values when measured at different stages during pregnancy.
Nicotine changes smokers’ blood pressure, heart rate, and even their metabolism. Nicotine enters right into the lining of small blood vessels, causing them to narrow and reducing blood flow to the uterus, and then to the baby. Nicotine can inhibit the production of prostacyclin, a potent vasodilator and inhibitor of platelet aggregation, in the arteries. Studies have shown that nicotine increases the vascular resistance of the uterus and reduces blood flow in the uterus, probably by acting on the release of catecholamines. Smoking acutely and chronically reduces placental blood flow, probably due to the effect of nicotine.
There is evidence that nicotine interferes with fetal growth and may lead to an increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth. A likely cause of fetal growth retardation is the induction of fetal ischemia (reduced blood supply) and hypoxia (lack of oxygen) as a result of nicotine’s effect on the placental circulation.
Nicotine from cigarettes or replacement therapy has potential adverse effects on human health.
More than 8 million women smoke in the UK. A survey of female smokers shows that 74% would like to quit smoking, but despite these attempts, most women are still addicted to nicotine and have difficulty overcoming their drug addiction.
Pregnant women who smoke are often highly motivated to quit, especially during early pregnancy, but many continue to smoke. Smoking among pregnant women in the UK is surprisingly high at 23%, with only 3% of people successfully quitting using willpower alone.
Risks in pregnancy are increased if the mother smokes. The risk of miscarriage is 27% higher among smokers. Perinatal mortality (defined as stillbirth or death of an infant within the first week of life) is increased by about one-third in babies of smokers. The risk of a low birth weight baby (200 grams 7 oz) is three times higher. Furthermore, the more cigarettes a woman smokes during pregnancy, the greater the likely reduction in birth weight.
Recent research suggests that cigarettes can reduce blood flow to the placenta, which limits the amount of nutrients reaching the fetus. There is a 35% increase in cot deaths linked to smoking during pregnancy. Maternal smoking is associated with a higher risk of cancer in children. Infants whose parents smoke are twice as likely to suffer from serious respiratory infections than children of non-smokers. Smoking during pregnancy can also increase the risk of asthma in young children.
Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with behavioral and attention disorders. Mothers who smoked more than ½ pack of cigarettes were significantly more likely to have offspring with conduct disorder. Abuse of addictive substances is higher among children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy and also had a disorder in raising children. Smoking during pregnancy can also have implications for the long-term physical growth and intellectual development of the child. It is associated with a lower height of children of smoking mothers compared to non-smoking mothers, with lower achievements in reading and mathematics by the age of 16, and even with the highest qualification achieved by the age of 23.
On average, smokers have more complications in pregnancy and childbirth, which can include bleeding during pregnancy, premature placental abruption, and premature rupture of membranes. Some studies have also found a link between smoking and ectopic pregnancy and birth defects in the offspring of smokers. Women are more likely to experience vomiting, urinary infections, thrush, feel unwell and have more hospital admissions. There is also evidence that smoking disrupts a woman’s hormonal balance during pregnancy and that this can have long-term effects on the reproductive organs of her children.
In December 1998, the British government set a target to reduce the percentage of women who smoke during pregnancy from 23% to 15% by 2010; falling to 18% by 2005. This will mean approximately 55,000 fewer women in England smoking during pregnancy. This goal has not yet been achieved.
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4-(methylnitrosoamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (nnk) in the urine of newborns. Abstract of Papers Am Chem. Soc 1998
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