Who give birth to women who smoke?
Smoking during pregnancy is bad, simply unacceptable, because weak children are born from this: they weigh little, get sick often. Everyone knows about it. And not so long ago, scientists proved that a child, still in the mother’s stomach, accustomed to nicotine, runs the risk of becoming a fat smoking psycho with criminal inclinations and a “cleft palate”.
Paradoxically, mankind learned about the dangers of smoking only in the 50s of the XX century, and before that, even doctors were one hundred percent sure that tobacco is absolutely harmless. However, a vague suspicion that it is better for children not to abuse nicotine after all, creeps in. Not for nothing in the mid-1920s, the young progressive Soviet government issued a propaganda poster with a warning: “Smoking schoolchildren study worse than non-smokers.”
Attitudes towards smoking deteriorated sharply only in 1956, when 40,000 doctors from different countries compared the medical records of their patients. It was then that it turned out that heavy smokers are many times more likely than non-smokers to suffer from cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, as well as lung cancer. “What other troubles can we expect from tobacco?” – the scientists were frightened and hastily began to study the effect of nicotine on living organisms.
Animal experiments have proven that animals die from tobacco. Apparently, it was then that the expression arose: “A drop of nicotine kills a horse .” Gradually, scientists discovered more and more new facts about the effect of cigarettes on the human body. It turned out that not only the lungs, bronchi and heart suffer from smoking, but the work of the endocrine glands worsens, digestion is disturbed, character and teeth deteriorate, and potency decreases. However, smoking causes the greatest harm to unborn children.
All nicotine, carbon monoxide, benzapyrene, and even some radioactive substances from cigarettes, entering the body of a pregnant woman, immediately penetrate the placenta to the baby after the first puff. Moreover, the concentration of all these substances in the body of the fetus is much higher than the blood of the mother! What happens next is easy to imagine. From nicotine, spasm of the vessels of the placenta occurs, and the child experiences oxygen starvation. Poisonous substances act on all his delicate organs, prevent the baby from developing normally. As a result, the majority of children born to smokers are born with low weight, often get sick, develop more slowly than their peers, and die more often in childhood.
Statistics show that smoking ( regardless of the number of cigarettes smoked ) during pregnancy increases the risk of its unfavorable ending by almost 2 times!
After scientists published these shocking data, it became clear that quitting smoking before pregnancy is the only way to have a healthy baby. However, even when all expectant mothers became aware of the dangers of cigarettes, many women could not give up the bad habit for nine months. The warnings about underweight and mysterious intrauterine growth retardation sounded abstract, but the mental and physical addiction to nicotine was real. Neither a positive attitude, nor nicotine patches and chewing gum, nor sessions of psychotherapy and acupuncture helped to quit smoking. Approximately 25% of all pregnant women continued to smoke.
By the end of the 20th century, new data on the effects of smoking on pregnancy shocked the medical world. It turned out that nicotine has a bad effect not only on the physical, but also on the mental state of the unborn child.
German scientists have proven that children of smoking mothers are already at an early age characterized by inattention, impulsivity and useless hyperactivity , even their level of mental development is below average. Most often, the so-called “Fidget Phil” syndrome develops – these children, as a rule, are aggressive and prone to deception.
English doctors came to the conclusion that children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy have a 40% increased risk of developing autism, a mental illness in which a person cannot contract with the surrounding reality and focuses on the world of his own experiences. Trying to explain this fact, the scientists suggested that insufficient supply of oxygen to the brain of the embryo was to blame. In addition, it is possible that nicotine affects specific genes responsible for psychomotor functions.
An international team of researchers from Emory University in Atlanta , Georgia , has found a link between smoking during pregnancy and children’s subsequent criminality. They summarized information about four thousand men born in Copenhagen from September 1951 to December 1961, as well as the history of their arrests by the age of 34. It turned out that those men whose mothers smoked during pregnancy were 1.6 times more likely to end up in prison for non-violent crimes and 2 times more often for violent ones.
The frightening revelations did not end there. In 2003, British scientists identified the relationship between smoking at an early stage of pregnancy and the birth of a child with a cleft face. According to the author of the study, Peter Mossy ( Professor of the Faculty of Dentistry at the University of Dundee ), the formation of the palate occurs at 6-8 weeks of gestation, and the expectant mother’s smoking during this period can manifest itself in the form of a “cleft palate” or “cleft lip” in a child. Additional research confirmed the hunch. 42% of mothers whose children were born with a facial defect smoked while pregnant. As for non-smoking mothers, they had such “wrong” children twice as rarely.
Around the same time, American researchers proved that women who smoked during pregnancy were much more likely to have clubfoot children. The risk of clubfoot among such children is higher by 34%. And if, in addition, mother’s smoking is combined with a hereditary factor, then the risk of clubfoot increases by 20 times.
And finally, the latest data:
- The children of women who smoked during pregnancy are one-third more likely than everyone else to be at risk of developing diabetes or obesity by the age of 16.
- Boys born to smoking mothers have smaller testicles and sperm concentrations in semen, on average, 20% lower than those of non-smokers.
- Children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are several times more likely to start smoking themselves than children whose mothers did not smoke during pregnancy.