8. Effects On Fetus And Children
If a pregnant woman smokes, it has adverse effects upon her unborn baby. There is abundant evidence that maternal smoking directly retards the rate of fetal growth and increases the risk of spontaneous abortion, of fetal death, and of infant death in otherwise normal babies. There is also some evidence that children of some smokers are more likely to have measurable deficiencies in physical growth and development.
When the mother smokes, some of the harmful gases and poisonous substances in the smoke actually pass from her blood through the placenta and into the fetal bloodstream. One of these gases is carbon monoxide, which forces oxygen out of the red blood cells. Another powerful poison, nicotine, adds to the damage by narrowing blood vessels, including those in the placenta itself. This decreases the amount of oxygen and food delivered to the unborn baby.
Although the fetus does not breathe before the moment of birth, it nevertheless practices some motions of breathing by exercising certain chest muscles. These movements slow down after the mother inhales just two cigarettes. Even when women quit smoking before pregnancy, their earlier smoking may still result in damage to the fetus, according to one extensive study.
Several researchers have investigated the effects of parental smoking on the health of children. One group of researchers conducted two telephone surveys of Detroit families to determine the relationship between children’s respiratory illnesses and parental smoking habits. In both surveys, they found statistically significant relationships between the prevalence of children’s respiratory inflammation and parental smoking habits. The body must rid itself of the toxins accumulated from the cigarette smoke. Respiratory inflammation, formation of mucus, etc., is one way of eliminating these toxins. This situation would become chronic if the parents continued to smoke in the child’s presence.
Two researchers studied infant admissions to Hadassah Hospital in West Jerusalem and found a relationship between admissions for bronchitis and pneumonia in the first year of life and maternal smoking habits during pregnancy. A relationship between infant admissions and maternal smoking habits was demonstrable between the sixth and ninth months of infant life and was more
pronounced during the winter months (when the effect of cigarette smoke on the indoor environment would be greatest).
The health of the fetus depends upon the health of the mother both during pregnancy and before conception. No one (not child or adult) can maintain health in a polluted environment.
- 1. History
- 2. The Tobacco Plant
- 3. The Dangers Are Realized
- 4. Tobacco Toxins
- 5. Cigarette Smoking And Chronic Disease
- 6. Added Industrial Pollutants
- 7. Tobacco Subsidies
- 8. Effects On Fetus And Children
- 9. Involuntary Smoking
- 10. Live Healthfully
- 11. Eliminating The Smoking Habit
- 12. Questions & Answers
- Article #1: A Small Fire at One End and a Big Fool at the Other By Dr. Keki R. Sidhwa, N.D., D.O.