Dangers of Smoking During Pregnancy

After Baby Is Born

It's also important to stay smoke-free after you bring your baby home. Both mother and father should refrain from smoking in the house, and insist that visitors to do the same.

Babies who are exposed to cigarette smoke after birth face an increased risk of SIDS. They also suffer from more respiratory illnesses, ear infections, and tonsillitis than other babies. According to the AAP, an estimated 1.67 million physician visits each year in the United States are to treat coughing due to involuntary smoking. Infants whose mothers smoke are 38 percent more likely to be hospitalized for pneumonia during their first year of life than babies of nonsmoking mothers.

Smoking in the home during the first few years of a child's life also increases his risk of developing asthma. Continual smoking can lead to more frequent and severe asthma attacks in children who already have the disease.

Nursing mothers who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day will likely pass along harmful chemicals from cigarettes to their babies in breast milk. Heavy smoking can reduce a mother's milk supply, and on rare occasions has caused symptoms in the breastfeeding baby such as nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps, and diarrhea.

Sources: March of Dimes; American Academy of Pediatrics; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; U.S. Public Health Service; La Leche League

All content here, including advice from doctors and other health professionals, should be considered as opinion only. Always seek the direct advice from your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your health or the health of others.

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