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Smoking, Alcohol, And Pregnancy

Smoking, Alcohol, And Pregnancy: Putting It All Together

Tuesday, April 24, 2012 - 15:08

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Here is a summary of the important facts and information related to smoking, alcohol, and pregnancy:

  • Smoking is a factor in several of the leading causes of death in the US, as well as a major contributor to lost work days and high healthcare costs.
  • Smoking during pregnancy is dangerous to the health of the unborn child. The effects include¬†low birthweight, impaired respiratory function, and higher risk of sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Children whose mother smoked during pregnancy suffer more colds, inner ear infections, and bronchial infections, are sometimes physically smaller, and have a higher risk of developing asthma than children of non-smokers.
  • Alcohol is a factor in several debilitating (often fatal) diseases, including liver disease, heart disease, and cancer.
  • Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is associated with a wide range of mental and physical birth defects.
  • The effects of alcohol on the developing baby are often permanent, leading to lifelong mental retardation and learning disabilities.
  • Alcohol can also be passed to the baby through breast milk, so you should never breastfeed immediately after drinking.
  • Smoking and drinking are associated with higher rates of miscarriage, premature birth, and complications during delivery.
  • There is no "safe" level of drinking or smoking during pregnancy-sometimes, defects are seen in babies with very little exposure.
  • If you are trying to become pregnant, you should stop drinking and smoking now. If you become pregnant, you should stop right away to minimize any effects on the baby.
  • Although it is best to stop smoking and/drinking before becoming pregnant, stopping during the pregnancy can still help to protect the health of the baby.

Smoking, Alcohol, And Pregnancy