Smoking during pregnancy

How dangerous is that

The answer to whether smoking is dangerous during pregnancy can be clearly answered with yes. When you inhale a cigarette, dangerous nicotine and tar substances get into the mother's bloodstream. Parts of it also pass through the placenta into the bloodstream of the unborn child.
As a rule, however, the embryo does not have the same compensation mechanisms as adults, which is why the substances supplied are far more dangerous for it.
This means that strong side effects of nicotine in the embryo can be expected in early pregnancy.
As a rule, smokers consume not just one cigarette a week, but several a day. This means that the dangerous toxins pass into the bloodstream of mother and child several times a day and can thus lead to irreparable damage to the child.

Smoking must be stopped before pregnancy in order to avoid secondary diseases in the child.

Despite the known dangers to the child, statistically every fourth pregnant woman continues to smoke. According to estimates, pregnant women who smoke consume around 13 cigarettes a day.

Read more about this under

  • Illnesses related to smoking
  • Consequences of smoking

Consequences for the child

There are a variety of complications and harms that smoking a pregnant woman can cause to the embryo.
There are numerous studies that can prove this.

The most dangerous consequence of smoking is sudden infant death syndrome. If cigarettes were no longer consumed during pregnancy, the risk of sudden infant death syndrome would decrease by around 60%.
Anyone who smokes 10 cigarettes a day increases the risk of their child dying of sudden cardiac death by five times, and with 20 cigarettes it is eight times as high.

The number of miscarriages among mothers who smoked during pregnancy is also alarming. Statistically speaking, miscarriages are much more common.
Stillbirths are also much more common in smoking mothers than in non-smoking mothers.

Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are, on average, much smaller and weigh less. For example, the birth weight of infants after a smoking pregnancy with a smoke consumption of around 20 cigarettes is 350g lower than that of smokeless pregnancies.
The main reason is a lack of oxygen caused by nicotine consumption in the unborn child.

Read more about this under Circulatory disorders caused by smoking

The fact that the children are smaller and lighter is by no means a minor matter. Because with a smaller weight and smaller size, the child is inevitably more susceptible to infections and does not develop in the same way as its peers.

Not only does the lack of oxygen affect the size of the embryo, it also has catastrophic consequences for the child's neurological development.
The lack of oxygen, for example, leads to a lower brain mass, which can lead to a severe intellectual disability in the child.

Furthermore, disorders of the peripheral nervous system, i.e. the nerve tracts, can occur, which can lead to paralysis of the arms or legs and incorrect development of fingers, hands or feet.

Speech development disorders and generally delayed development that can extend into adolescence can also be a disastrous consequence of smoking.

Pulmonary diseases in the child, such as severe breathing disorders or chronic lung diseases that can last the rest of life, have also been found in children of pregnant women who smoke.


ADHD is a neurological-psychiatric disease that occurs mainly in children. It is an attention deficit hyperactivity syndrome that breaks out and can develop in children for various reasons.

In the vast majority of cases, the cause cannot be clarified. In some cases, smoking during pregnancy is blamed for this condition.

With this disease, the children suffer from restlessness that is noticeable both physically and mentally. This means that those affected can often not sit quietly and in the chair for long periods of time. Furthermore, they lack the ability to concentrate, which can also have serious consequences later on in their school and professional careers.

The children are also often socially excluded, as their behavior is seen as very stressful.

Sometimes drug treatment is necessary and should be initiated if the disease is severe. Medicines like Ritalin® are used here.

Read more about this under

  • Ritalin® effect
  • Ritalin® side effects

Children who suffer from ADHD are often in child psychiatric outpatient treatment for years and are also accompanied by child and adolescent psychologists.

Read more on the subject below ADHD

Why should you stop smoking?

With or without pregnancy one should quit smoking. That is known and the damage that smoking does in the adult caused not to be neglected.

In the case of the unborn child, there is also the fact that the child cannot avoid the nicotine that passes into the bloodstream. In the true sense of the word, it is a matter of bodily harm that is committed to the unborn child.

You should definitely stop smoking or at least consistently pause smoking during pregnancy in order not to endanger the life and health of the child.

Most children of smoking mothers are at birth much lighter and smaller, in further life then still at least smaller.
Often there is either one Miscarriage or to one stillbirth. A trauma that will also occupy the mother for a long time.

Wrong development of hands, feet or fingers can occur and must therefore be avoided at all costs.
Chronic diseases such as lung and respiratory diseases are often found among children whose parents smoked. Excessive can also Allergies occurrence.

Intellectual disabilities, learning disorders and language development disorders occur more frequently in children of pregnant women who smoke.

If you make yourself aware that the toxins you inhale pass directly into the child and in part there irreparable damage makes it clear how important it is to quit smoking immediately during pregnancy.

Furthermore you should of course also alcohol (please refer: Alcohol during pregnancy) and certain Medication in Pregnancy do without and pay attention to a healthy diet (see: Diet in Pregnancy).

Is smoking during pregnancy a criminal offense?

As defined by definition, the Consumption of alcohol, drugs or even cigarettes in pregnancy one Mayhem for the expectant child.
It is a criminal offense that should also be punished but will not be punished.

The reason is not so much that someone doubts that nicotine use during pregnancy is a physical harm, but rather that a fetus is not a person in the legal system.
For example, a court in England was unable to convict a mother who consumed excessive alcohol and drugs during pregnancy and whose child suffered severe consequential damage, as the child is not legally a person.
In the legal sense, smoking is not a criminal offense and is not legally prosecuted.

Rather, it is based on reason and the moral situation that exists between the expectant mother and the unborn child. Incidentally, it is often not known which mothers smoked and which did not. Only pronounced consequential damage could indicate this.
The mothers would then have to be legally prosecuted, which is practically impossible. How long this legal gray area will last or whether there will be a paraphrase of the legal situation regarding the legal status of the unborn child remains open at first.

Ignorance about pregnancy

It is the rule that women do not know they are pregnant immediately after conception.
On average, if there is no menstrual period (usually only 14 days after implantation), a pregnancy test is done or a doctor is consulted.
During the period in which there is a pregnancy but no one knows about it, the usual nicotine consumption is usually continued to the same extent.

The moreover one is also as usual Alcohol during pregnancy consumed what is even more dangerous.

It is in the nature of things that a pregnancy is only noticed after a certain period of time, so nothing can be changed about the fact that people still smoke until the pregnancy is determined.

But then, after a positive pregnancy test or after a gynecological examination, smoking will stop consistently set, the risk for the future child of a secondary disease, malformation or developmental disorder is relatively low.

Is withdrawal from pregnant women dangerous for the child?

There are numerous studies on the subject Withdrawal symptoms for mother and child from nicotine consumption.
You have to keep in mind that a physical withdrawal practically never occurs after smoking cessation and almost always does psychological addiction is available.
Make an exception extremely heavy smokers who consume several packets a day.

Nevertheless, the behavior of the body also changes if nicotine consumption is stopped after a long time.

There are no studywhich proves that the mother's withdrawal symptoms are expected to cause consequential harm to the child.

Numerous children have been retrospectively examined for this, whose mothers have stopped using nicotine for years during pregnancy or shortly before and who have physical symptoms such as Sweating or restlessness have to report.

Unfortunately, the issue of withdrawal syndrome damage in children is often still widespread, which mistakenly discourages some smoking mothers from quitting.

Can you get pregnant despite smoking?

Smoking and the associated nicotine consumption not only changes that metabolism the woman demonstrably, but also leads to Vascular obstruction and circulatory disorders in the body.

In order for a woman to become pregnant, a delicate balance of many factors must be maintained.
These include hormonal causes, blood pressure situations, the breakdown of toxins and other causes that could complicate a pregnancy in this context with nicotine consumption.

Yet many women who smoke become pregnant. However, it is questionable whether this pregnancy will be successful and healthy.
Similar to diabetes and thyroid dysfunction, smoking is said to have an adverse effect on pregnancy, but it is always possible to get pregnant despite smoking.