With every cigarette carbon monoxide gets into your blood stream and restricts the arteries and cuts down oxygen reaching your baby the foetal heart rate rises as the baby struggles to get enough oxygen. For every cigarette you smoke the blood flow to your baby is disrupted for about 15 seconds. Smoking damages placenta development which leads to an increased risk of premature birth and stillbirth.
It is found that women who smoke during pregnancy have more complications during their pregnancy and labour and have the increased risk of miscarriage, bleeding and sickness.
The most damaging affects of smoking are between months 4-9. If you stop before this the baby is likely to be healthy.
Babies who are born to mothers who have smoked during pregnancy have a lower birth weight leading to a weak immune system. The babies have a lower growth rate and are often slower to develop.
Babies who’s mothers have smoked during their pregnancy are twice as likely to die of cot death and they are likely to have damaged airways that could lead to asthma.
Babies born to women who smoked 15 cigarettes or more a day during pregnancy are taken into hospital twice as often during the first eight months of life.
Some studies have shown that smoking during pregnancy may harm the child’s mental development and behaviour, leading to a short attention span and hyperactivity.