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Fact Sheet - Tobacco & Pregnancy

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 Full Text [Fact #67]
  • Smoking harms many aspects and every phase of reproduction. Despite having greater knowledge of the adverse health effects of smoking during pregnancy, many pregnant women and girls continue to smoke (estimates range from 12% to 22%). It is estimated that only 18% to 25% quit smoking once they become pregnant.
 Full Text [Fact #70]
  • Research has shown that smoking during pregnancy causes health problems for both mothers and babies, such as pregnancy complications, premature birth, low-birth-weight infants, stillbirth, and infant death. Low birth weight is a leading cause of infant deaths, resulting in more than 300,000 deaths annually in the United States.
 Full Text [Fact #74]
  • Once pregnant, women who smoke are about twice as likely to experience complications such as placenta previa, a condition where the placenta grows too close to the opening of the uterus. This condition frequently leads to delivery by a Caesarean section.
 Full Text [Fact #76]
  • Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to have placental abruption, where the placenta prematurely separates from the wall of the uterus. This can lead to preterm delivery, stillbirth, or early infant death. Estimates for risk of placental abruption among smokers range from 1.4 to 2.4 times that of nonsmokers.
  • Pregnant smokers are at a higher risk for premature rupture of membranes before labor begins. This makes it more likely that a smoker will carry her baby for a shorter than normal gestation period.
  • Infants born to women who are exposed to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) during pregnancy may have a slightly lower birth weight and a slightly increased risk for intrauterine growth retardation.
  • Smoking during pregnancy is associated with increased risk for premature rupture of membranes, abruptio placentae (placenta separation from the uterus), and placenta previa (abnormal location of the placenta, which can cause massive hemorrhaging during delivery). Smoking is also associated with a modest increase in risk for preterm delivery.
  • Infants born to women who smoke during pregnancy have a lower average birth weight and are more likely to be small for gestational age than infants born to women who do not smoke. Low birth weight is associated with increased risk for neonatal, perinatal, and infant morbidity and mortality. The longer the mother smokes during pregnancy, the greater the effect on the infant’s birth weight.
  • According to a 2000-2001 study of 8 states (Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Nebraska, and North Carolina), younger women, white or American Indian women, non-Hispanic women (except in Hawaii), women with a high school education or less, and women with low incomes consistently reported the highest rates of smoking during pregnancy.


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