Impact of Smoking on Pregnant Women

Impact of Smoking on Pregnant Women
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Impact of Smoking on Pregnant Women
Cigarette smoking among pregnant women is a leading healthcare concern in both
developed and third world countries. The exposure to smoking during pregnancy leaves a long-
lasting impact on maternal health and child development. Evidence-based research suggests that
over 14% of fetuses experience the effects of cigarette smoking in the developed world (Varner,
Ihongbe, & Masho, 2016). A growing body of literature indicates that cigarette smoking during
pregnancy correlates with many adverse developmental consequences during the intrauterine and
postnatal period. The effects are attributable to the active substances such as nicotine, cyanide,
and carbon monoxide, which are present in tobacco products. This paper examines the impact of
smoking on pregnant women.
Smoking during pregnancy relates to an increased risk of congenital malformations and
disturbances in cognitive development among children. Varner, Ihongbe, and Masho (2016)
observe that maternal smoking during pregnancy affects early neurodevelopment of fetus.
Moreover, studies show that a relationship exists between fetal exposure to cigarette smoking
and visual problems during early childhood (Olympio et al. 2014). Smoking while pregnant
heightens the threat of developing common visual problems such as strabismus, refractive errors,
and retinal dysfunction. Additionally, early onset of the mentioned above visual problems can
affect the neuropsychological development of children. The long-term impacts affect reading,
writing, fine motor skills of children (Chang et al., 2014). The authors add that adolescents
whose mothers smoked during pregnancy portray high rates of antisocial behavior and are likely
to engage in drug abuse. It is worth noting that visual difficulties among children cause delayed
cognitive development, low performance in school, and reduced quality of life during formative
The habit of smoking during pregnancy is among the leading preventable causes of infant
morbidity and mortality around the world. Research shows that continued smoking among
pregnant women increases the risk of spontaneous abortion and childbirth complications (Chang
et al., 2014). The exposure of the fetus to nicotine leads to adverse effects, which range from
mild to severe including infant irritability, enhanced risk of preterm birth and low birth weight,
genetic deformities, and sudden death syndrome (Olympio et al. 2014). Also, infants are likely to
discontinue breastfeeding, particularly when the mothers continue with smoking after giving
birth. Magee et al. (2014) note that maternal-fetal attachment decreases with increased exposure
to tobacco smoke. Women who smoke many cigarettes per day feel less attached to their fetus.
Maternal smoking during pregnancy leads to a plethora of adverse impacts. For instance,
the habit increases the fetus’ risk of developing congenital malformations. Children whose
mothers smoked are likely to experience problems with cognitive development, which cause
reading and writing difficulties as well as behavioral disorders during the adolescent stage. Also,
sight problems affect children born to smoking mothers. Additional impacts of cigarette smoking
on pregnant women include infant deaths and disabilities, neurodevelopment problems among
fetus, preterm birth, and low birthweight. Last but not least, cigarette smoking during pregnancy
reduces maternal-fetal attachment.
Chang, R. C., Ho, Y., Wong, S., Gentleman, S. M., & Ng, H. (2014). Neuropathology of
cigarette smoking. Acta Neuropathologica, (1), 53.
Magee, S. R., Bublitz, M. H., Orazine, C., Brush, B., Salisbury, A., Niaura, R., & Stroud, L. R.
(2014). The relationship between maternal-fetal attachment and cigarette smoking over
pregnancy. Maternal and Child Health Journal, (4), 1017.
Olympio Rua, E., Leite Porto, M., Pierre Louzada, J., Valentim Nogueira, B., dos Santos
Meyrelles, S., Corral Vasquez, E., & de Melo Costa Pereira, T. (2014). Effects of tobacco
smoking during pregnancy on oxidative stress in the umbilical cord and mononuclear
blood cells of neonates. Journal of Biomedical Science, 21(1), 1-21.
Varner, S. B., Ihongbe, T., & Masho, S. W. (2016). The impact of previous poor birth outcomes
on smoking behavior on subsequent pregnancies: Analysis of the national PRAMS
data. Maternal and Child Health Journal, (3), 583.

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