When pregnant women smoke, their babies smoke, too. No one knows how many babies born to teens are harmed because the mother used tobacco while pregnant. Teen pregnancies are increasing in the United States. Today, teen mothers have more than 25% of all babies born each year.
About 1.1 million teens get pregnant each year. That is about five teen girls out of every fifty. The number of teens under fifteen years old who get pregnant is rising. Eight out of ten of these teens say their pregnancies were not planned. This means that some teen smokers will continue to smoke because they do not realize they are pregnant, particularly in the early months of their pregnancy.
When a pregnant woman smokes, the various chemicals, including nicotine and carbon monoxide, also affect the baby. with dozens of poisons in cigarette smoke, it is likely that more than one can cause harm. When tested, these poisons are found in babies’ saliva and urine. The more the mother smokes, the greater the amounts of these poisons are found in their babies.
One study found that mothers who smoked two packs a day lowered their blood flow to their babies. The developing babies had less oxygen, which could harm development. An unborn baby’s organs, such as its heart and lungs, are immature and smaller in a pregnant woman who smokes. So the poisons from tobacco smoke probably stay in the baby’s body longer than in the mother’s.
If a teen or any woman smokes while pregnant, these problems could result:
– Her pregnancy could end in a miscarriage or stillbirth( the baby is dead at birth).
– Her baby could be born too soon or too small. Babies born too small may have breathing and other health problems. Studies show that the more the woman smokes during pregnancy, the greater the reduction in birth weight.
– Her baby could have learning and behavior problems. Many of these problems cannot be reversed.
– Her baby or child has a higher chance of developing leukemia, cancer of the blood.