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How does my smoking affect the health of my unborn baby?

My Smoking And My Child

Linda Hyder Ferry (Associate Professor, Preventive Medicine and Family Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine) gives expert video advice on: How does my smoking affect the health of my unborn baby?; How does my smoking affect the health of my newborn baby?; How can secondhand smoke affect my child's health? and more...

How does my smoking affect the health of my unborn baby?

There's actually three things to consider about a woman's responsibility to her unborn child. The first is the cigarette smoke that you breathe in is damaging you. It's decreasing the amount of oxygen your lungs can deliver to your body, and the child can only get oxygen from you. The second thing is, that it is delivering nicotine to your body which is constricting blood vessels. Your baby is growing in an environment in your womb where it needs oxygen, and it needs blood from you. And if that womb has its blood supply constricted, and the blood that does get through is robbed of oxygen, that child cannot grow to the potential that it could otherwise. So the size, and the ability, and the health and the vitality of that growing foetus is compromised because of those two simple effects: the nicotine and the carbon monoxide. The third area is in the development of your child's brain. From a very small size, to the size of a child's brain when it's born, the last three months are the most critical period. If you have been smoking in your early pregnancy, I seriously advise you to talk to your doctor if you can't quit on your own, so you are absolutely off all tobacco and nicotine by your last third of your pregnancy, your last trimester, because that's when your child's brain is developing into a brain that is habituated and sensitized to nicotine. You're making a smoker inside your womb, that when they grow up and taste that first cigarette themselves, their brain already knows what to do with it. They've already been addicted. So from all three of those, protecting yourself, protecting the development of your child so that it gets adequate oxygen and blood supply, and protecting the development of that child's brain so it doesn't grow up inside your womb as an addict, are all three very important and convincing arguments for you to take the steps right now to get help. To do it on your own, this is tough. Get help and stop smoking as soon as you can.

How does my smoking affect the health of my newborn baby?

If you are a smoker and breast feeding the child will get the toxins from the smoke through the milk.

How can secondhand smoke affect my child's health?

Paediatricians in the United States look into the eyes of parents who smoke and they're looking at their child with an ear infection, the sinusitis, the upper respiratory infection and pneumonia, bronchitis, the list goes on and on. They have a sense of, "don't these parents know that their cigarette smoke, the passing component that their child breathes in, is making their child sick?" All of the upper respiratory diseases are increased in children whose parents smoke, in fact we know that 40% of all the sinusitis, ear infections, tonsillitis, airways, epiglottis, bronchitis, pneumonia, all those diseases occur in the United States would be cut by 40% if adults will just conscientiously avoid smoking in the same breathing space as children. When you consider those diseases affects a child's speech, their learning ability, their intelligence levels - what is the legacy you're giving your child if you continue to smoke in their breathing space?

What are the most common illnesses found in the children of smokers?

When you smoke in the presence of your children, especially in small rooms or automobiles, and where the concentration of the smoke doesn't have a chance to disperse, those episodes increase the toxic effect in the airways of children, much greater than if it was outdoors, or not in their environment at all, or if they just weren't there during the active time when cigarette smoke was being created. The diseases that a paediatrician will see in children of smokers is airway disease, meaning nasal airways, oral airways, throat, tonsillitis's, asthma, and lung disease. Those are the most common disorders that will be at a higher level in children of parents who smoke and parents who smoke never in the presence of their children, or parents who do not smoke.

My baby is sick all the time, could secondhand smoke be to blame?

Babies who are sick all the time need to be evaluated carefully by their paediatrician, but it would be very appropriate for you to ask your child's doctor, "do you think these illnesses that my child has have any risk associated with second-hand smoke or with smoking during my pregnancy?" It might be your smoking, it might be your smoking plus smoking of other people this child is around. I think the upper respiratory symptoms that your child has is what you should concentrate on most importantly because that is where the toxic affect of a child exposed to second-hand smoke is most noticeable. But that doesn't mean that you shouldn't ask your doctor about other symptoms too because children can respond in a variety of ways, with having colic, with having other symptoms that are just because of the irritability of having to put up with second-hand smoke in their breathing.

What long-term consequences could my smoking have on my child?

The research that's been done by social scientists in psychiatrist in primary care doctors looking at children born to non smokers compare to children born to those use tobacco ,mothers who use tobacco ,has indicated that not only art is the effect from second hair smoke effecting the health of the children but long term behavioral, IQ it causes social behavioral problems when children grow up. we know that aggressive behavior is higher in women who smoke, drink and forming pregnancy in their children, there is also increase risk in addition to behavioral disorders such as attention deficit disorders where little the kids cant sit still act a bigger problem when mom is been smoking their pregnancy in her life but that can even multiply the problems seriousness' anti social behavior where someone actually doesn't care about what authority say something switches in the mind of children who been exposed to cigarettes from there development time up its easily tract in psychosocial research to cigarette smoking is been one of the precipitating factors to this anti social behavior. Leading to juvenile delinquency.