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-Giving up smoking is always difficult. It can be especially hard during pregnancy. But quitting smoking during pregnancy is good for both the pregnant woman and her baby.

Women who smoke during pregnancy have a higher risk of miscarriage and still birth. They are also more likely than non-smokers to experience complications with the pregnancy such as placental problems, bleeding during pregnancy, premature rupture of the membranes and pre-term delivery.

Babies born to women who are smokers are on the average lighter than babies born to non-smokers. Nicotine and carbon monoxide from the cigarettes cut down the oxygen supply to the unborn baby and slow its growth. Having an underweight baby puts the baby at risk. If smoking is stopped before the fourth month , however, the baby’s birthweight will be closer to normal.

Babies of smokers are generally born about 200gms lighter than babies of non-smokers. Small also means underdeveloped, which can create complications, and even an increased risk of death in the first few weeks of life. Having a smaller baby does not necessarily mean that the birth will be easier either.

The more cigarettes that are smoked, the more likely these effects are.

It is not only the cigarette smoke from the pregnant woman that will affect the foetus. Inhaling the smoke from other people’s cigarettes is also harmful. If you spend a lot of time with other people who smoke, ask them not to smoke near you or the baby.

For further information, contact your local doctor, or State centre for drugs and alcohol.

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