Smoking and Miscarriage Causes

Quit Smoking When Pregnant

You probably don't need to be told that smoking is detrimental to your health. If you are still smoking, it probably isn't because you don't know the facts - it's a choice you've made. However, if you are pregnant and you are smoking, then maybe this would be a good time for you to consider kicking the habit once and for all, for your baby's sake as well as your own sake.

Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, and gum disease. It can also cause eye diseases that eventually lead to blindness. Smoking can cause fertility issues and it has been linked to miscarriage. Then, of course, there are the effects upon your unborn baby. Smoking during pregnancy exposes your unborn baby to dangerous chemicals like nicotine, carbon monoxide and tar. They can reduce the amount of oxygen your baby gets through the placenta, causing low birth weight, damage to the baby's lungs, and even stillbirth.

Pregnancy Risks from Smoking

Women who smoke during their pregnancies increase the risks of a variety of complications and problems. If you smoke, your chances of having any one of the following pregnancy risks manifest more quickly than if you didn't smoke:

· ectopic pregnancy (embryo embeds in the fallopian tube)

· vaginal bleeding

· placental abruption (placenta separates from the uterine wall before delivery)

· placenta previa (placenta covers part or all of the cervix)

· stillbirth

· miscarriage

Smoking Effects On Babies?

Babies who are born to mothers who smoke are more likely to be born:

· with birth defects

· prematurely

· at a low birth weight

· underweight for gestation

Babies who are born prematurely or underweight become subject to a number of other complications, some of which can kill. Lifelong disabilities that include cerebral palsy, mental retardation and learning problems as well as serious health issues are common in premature babies.

Miscarriage Due To Smoking

It is a known fact that the cause of many miscarriages is chromosomal abnormalities. It is possible that cigarette smoking in the early days of pregnancy, when the baby is developing very rapidly, may cause genetic damage. Theoretically, exposure to cigarette smoke could cause chromosomal problems that could lead to miscarriage. Smoking may also alter the endometrium making it more difficult for implantation to take place.

There is some evidence that a father who smokes in excess of 20 cigarettes per day may increase the chances of miscarriage because his sperm may be damaged from smoking. Some studies indicate that men who smoke have higher incidence of chromosomal abnormalities in their sperm. Additionally, the father's smoking endangers the mother with secondhand smoke which has the potential to cause problems with a pregnancy.

Secondhand Smoke

Secondhand smoke during pregnancy can cause low birth weight for the baby. Some of the effects of secondhand smoke on infants and children are:

· the child is more likely to die of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome)

· the child is at a greater risk for asthma, respiratory infections and diseases

· the child may experience delayed lung maturity

Third-hand Smoke

Then there is third-hand smoke, which is something that is just coming to light. New research indicates that third-hand smoke is yet another health hazard. It is made up of toxic gases and particles left behind from cigarette or cigar smoking. Lead, arsenic and carbon monoxide cling to hair and clothing, furniture, draperies and carpets, long after the proverbial smoke has cleared. The residual smells easily identify a smoker. Breathing in these toxins has a negative effect on the health of young children, babies, and pregnant women.

A stronger link between smoking and miscarriage has been established in studies that look at miscarriages other than chromosomal miscarriages - in other words, the baby was chromosomally normal. It appears the miscarriages occur as a result of other factors such as the reduction of oxygen and nutrients in the placenta caused by restricted blood flow. Smoking causes the blood vessels to constrict, limiting blood flow to many areas of the body.

Although hard and fast numbers are elusive, the fact remains that quitting smoking is one danger to pregnancy you have control over. You can avoid second and third hand smoke and decrease your chances of miscarriage.

Miscarriage is heartbreaking and difficult. Learn more about it - causes and how to deal with a miscarriage here.

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