Tobacco smoking and pregnancy is related to many effects on health and reproduction, in addition to the general health effects of tobacco. A number of studies have shown that tobacco use is a significant factor in miscarriages among pregnant smokers, and that it contributes to a number of other threats to the health of the fetus. Second-hand smoke appears to present an equal danger to the fetus, as one study noted that “heavy paternal smoking increased the risk of early pregnancy loss.”
Ideally, women should not smoke before, during or after pregnancy. If this is not possible, however, the daily number of cigarettes must be reduced to a minimum to minimize the risks for both the mother and child. This is particularly important for women in undeveloped countries where breastfeeding is essential for the child’s overall nutritional status.
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