Host: What are the smoking risks for pregnant women and their unborn babies?
Eletta Hansen: An unborn baby receives the poisons from the cigarette through the mother's blood stream. In addition because nicotine constricts the vessels, the baby receives less blood and less nourishment. Thus the baby may be born at a low breath rate, the mother may actually miscarry, it could be a stillbirth. It is also a great risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
13% of all pregnant women smoke. If we could get all those women to stop smoking we could reduce fetal deaths by 10%. Many pregnant women will quit smoking while they are pregnant and resume smoking after the baby is born. That is a step forward but at the same time, we have to remember the risk to the newborn for the second hand smoke and also the ongoing smoking for the mother.