Ask a Doctor – How does smoking affect bubup in the womb?

We know that smoking in pregnancy isn’t good but how exactly does it affect our baby in our womb. We asked Dr Hung the Nguyen from Bunurong Health Service to explain what happens.

Dr Hung explains:

When you smoke, toxins fill your lungs, go into your blood, pass along the placenta and enter the babies blood.

The main things in cigarettes that affect the baby is nicotine, toxic (cancer-causing) chemicals, lead and carbon monoxide.

If a mother smokes while pregnant the baby is getting a constant supply of nicotine. Once the baby is born, it no longer has nicotine and starts to go through withdrawal. This means they can be more irritable, jittery, difficult to settle, more stressed and anxious, harder to feed, can’t sleep well, and can cry a lot.

The toxic chemicals in cigarettes are dangerous to the baby because they damage dna and cause abnormalities. This can be cleft palate, club foot, heart defects, miscarriage and premature birth.

Carbon monoxide and lead affect red blood cells, ultimately depriving baby of enough oxygen so they aren’t able to grow to a normal and healthy size. Small babies are at a higher risk for still birth.

Smoking also puts baby at risk of SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome or cot death, hyperactivity and ADHD. Long term affects of being born too small at birth can mean obesity and diabetes in later life.

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