How Does Smoking During Pregnancy Affect The Baby?

Cigarette smoke contains more than 4,000 harmful chemicals, including cyanide, lead and at least 60 carcinogenic compounds. When you smoke during pregnancy, toxic substances enter your bloodstream which is the one and only source of oxygen and nutrients to your baby.

How does smoking affect the baby:

Weight and size

On average, the habit of smoking one pack of cigarettes per day during pregnancy will reduce the baby’s weight about 200 grams after giving birth. While smoking two packs or more during pregnancy can reduce the weight of your baby for half a kilo or more. While some women can receive the opportunity to give birth to a smaller baby, falling behind of baby’s growth in the womb can have negative consequences that last a lifetime.


Babies, whose mothers smoked during the first trimester of pregnancy, have a higher risk of being diagnosed with heart defects after birth. A survey in the United States Center for Control and Prevention of Diseases published in 2011, the risk of babies suffering from certain types of heart diseases and damages was from 20% to 70% higher compared to babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy. Damages include obstructions from the right ventricle to the lungs and making holes on the wall between the atrium of the heart.

Body and lungs

Babies born with low weight tend to have underdeveloped bodies. Their lungs are not willing to work independently, so often they are connected to respiratory apparatus during the first few days or weeks of their lives. If after birth, small babies can breathe on their own, further development respiratory problems due to irregular and delayed development of the lung or due to other harmful effects of nicotine may occur. Children, whose mothers smoked during pregnancy, often get sick from asthma and are more likely to be diagnosed with the syndrome of sudden death.

Brain function

Smoking during pregnancy can have a permanent consequence on the baby’s brain. Children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are prone to having a learning disorder. Behavioral problems may also occur as well as having a relatively low IQ.