Smoking and Alcohol Use

Smoking and drinking alcohol during pregnancy is a big no-no. But do you know why? Find out what this can do to your baby.

Smoking tobacco of any kind or drinking alcohol during pregnancy is dangerous. Smoking robs your developing baby of oxygen and can cause developmental abnormalities, premature birth, miscarriage, and low birthweight. Babies born to mothers who smoked while pregnant have more colds, ear infections, and upper respiratory infections than babies with nonsmoking mothers. They also have a greater risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome).

If you smoke, now is the time to stop. Ask your doctor about smoking-cessation resources in your area. If you can't quit completely, cut down as much as possible; keep in mind that even a few cigarettes a day can potentially harm your baby. If your partner or other family members smoke, ask them to quit or to smoke outdoors in a place where you won't be exposed to the smoke. Research shows that even secondhand smoke can be harmful to a developing fetus.

Now is also the time to stop drinking. Alcohol can cause your baby to be born with fetal alcohol syndrome, which is characterized by mental retardation, growth restriction, and facial abnormalities. Alcohol is particularly dangerous to your fetus during the 1st and 2nd trimesters, when the baby's organs are developing. If you can't stop drinking, seek help immediately.

Alcohol During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?
Alcohol During Pregnancy: Safe or Not?

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

All content on this Web site, including medical opinion and any other health-related information, is for informational purposes only and should not be considered to be a specific diagnosis or treatment plan for any individual situation. Use of this site and the information contained herein does not create a doctor-patient relationship. Always seek the direct advice of your own doctor in connection with any questions or issues you may have regarding your own health or the health of others.

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