Cigarette Smoking and Pregnancy

smoking and pregnancy

Cigarette smoking is especially harmful in pregnancy and should be totally avoided.

Tabacco use in pregnancy its a very important argument for its effects on the fetus and success of pregnancy.

In 2008, 21.1 million (18.3%) women smoked in the United States compared to 24.8 million (23.1%) men (data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey Raw Data, 2008. Analysis by the American Lung Association, Research and Program Services Division using SPSS software).

An alarming fact, if we consider that they are mostly young women aged between 25 and 54 years.

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of lung tumor as well as of bladder and liver tumors. Adverse effects of nicotine have also been described in the cardiovascular system, reproductive, behavioral and cognitive function of the nervous system. In particular, there is in women a direct damage to ovary with reduced ovarian reserve and sometimes a premature menopause. Women have proved a particular strength to stop smoking even in delicate moments like pregnancy when damage also involves embryos and fetuses. Information on cigarette packets and information campaigns are useless; more and more women smoke during pregnancy, sometimes convinced that a simple reduction is already good.

The concept that if something is harmful must be completely avoided should be promoted, especially when it may harm an unborn life. Cigarette smoking during pregnancy is harmful. Through Placenta pass Nicotine and other carcinogenic substances such as Benzopyrene (lungs), 4-Aminobiphenyl (liver), Nitrile (bladder), with increased risk of cancer in adulthood.

The known risks associated with cigarette smoking in pregnancy are especially concentrated in the fetus and in Uterus and Placenta regions . These include:

  • Miscarriage;
  • Malformation Syndromes;
  • Fetal growth restriction;
  • Placental Aging;
  • After the birth, children of smoker mothers have an increased risk of:
  • Pulmonary and Cognitive development changes;
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS);
  • Lung, Liver and Bladder Tumors.

Malformation Syndromes that seem to have a greater impact in female smokers are the Cleft Lip and the Cleft Palate. Cigarette smoking is harmful not only during pregnancy, but also during lactation. Qualitative and quantitative alterations of the maternal milk have also been attributed to cigarette smoking.

In summary, cigarette smoking (tobacco use) in women is particularly harmful for:

  • Cancer and cardiovascular risks;
  • Infertility and potential reproductive period reduction and premature menopause;
  • Fetal and neonatal damages
  • Respiratory, Oncology and cognitive behavior in adults son of a smoking woman damages.


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Filiberto Di Prospero
Medical Doctor, Consultant in Gynecology and Obstetrics, Endocrinology and Metabolism. Director of Gynecologic Endocrinology Unit at Civitanova Marche General Hospital (Italy). Private clinics in Civitanova Marche, Rome and Milan.

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