How Does Smoking Affect Pregnancy?

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Smoking is dangerous both for a pregnant woman and the baby in that it decreases the amount of oxygen and nutrients that go to the baby. Discover how the chance that a baby will die shortly after birth is dramatically increased by a woman who smokes with help from a pulmonary disease research expert in this free video on the effects of smoking.

Part of the Video Series: Effects of Smoking
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Video Transcript

Hello, I am Dr. David Burns, I'm a professor emeritus at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. Smoking is a particular problem for the pregnant woman. Both for her and for her baby. Many of the substances in cigarette smoke decrease the amount of oxygen and the amount of nutrients that go to the baby. As a result, the baby tends to be smaller when it is born and it has a developmental lag that may persist for several years after birth. In addition, the baby has a greater chance of dying shortly after birth and there are complications for the mother as well. Particularly complications in relation to the placenta which tends to grow somewhat larger in women who smoke and therefore tend to grow over the opening of the birth canal and therefore you get complications of pregnancy related to bleeding and to rupture of the placenta which are very serious complications for the mother. So there is very little question that it is critically important that mothers who smoke when they find out that they're pregnant that they quit as soon as they can. The good news is that if you quit early in your pregnancy, particularly within the first 3 months, many of the complications appear to be minimal or to disappear entirely.

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