Effects Of Smoking On Fetus

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It is a known fact that smoking is a harmful habit. Considering the numerous ill effects of smoking, many health experts ask people irrespective of age or sex to stay away from smoking. However, it is pregnant women who are advised maximum abstinence from smoking. The reason for the same being that smoking affects not just the health of the pregnant mother but the fetus too. In fact, smoking has numerous ill effects on the fetus, some of which are irreversible. Let us take a look at some of the potential harmful effects that smoking could cast on the fetus.

Fetus' blood
When carbon monoxide is inhaled in the form of smoke, it displaces the oxygen in the blood. To compensate for this displacement, the fetus produces more red blood cells. Consistent smoking leads to surplus of red blood cells. These extra red blood cells in turn lead to thickening of blood. Since the blood becomes thicker, its flow inside the fetus is disrupted. In some cases, this restricted blood flow leads to failure of various organs, eventually leading to death.

Fetus' brain
Smoking during pregnancy can also lead to certain behavioral problems in the new born baby. Some newborns also deal with nervous disorders as a result of smoking. Nicotine, being an addictive substance, affects the production of neurotransmitters in the brain. So, when the nicotine is not present, it causes withdrawal symptoms in the fetus too. These withdrawal symptoms take form of psychological dependence in the baby.

Fetus' thyroid
The thyroid gland is extremely important for the normal growth and development of the fetus. It is also responsible for metabolism in the fetus. Ideally, the thyroid gland begins to develop during the 12th week of pregnancy. Smoking affects the thyroid in fetus, which ultimately causes neuron damage. This neuron damage affects the growth and leads to mental conditions like retardation. Retardation in fetus could be caused both as a result of first hand as well as second hand smoke.

Other side effects
Low birth weight is also a potential effect caused by smoking in fetuses. The reason for the same being that smoking causes pasmodic reactions in the blood arteries that are connected to the placenta. This blocks the flow of oxygen and vital nutrients to the fetus. As a result, the newbnorn is born with low birth weight.

With so many serious negative effects, it is only advisable for pregnant women to stay away from smoking. Breastfeeding mothers too should refrain from the habit. Say no to smoking, after all, it is about the health of your young one.