Experts found babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy were born with smaller airways – making them more vulnerable to breathing problems after birth. These breathing problems can put your baby at increased risk for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Smoking has been linked to various health problems in babies, including prematurity and low birth weight. Mothers who smoke are at increased risk of having a stillbirth, miscarriage or premature infant. Smoking while pregnant will lower the amount of oxygen available to you and your growing baby and increase your baby’s heart rate. These health factors also contribute to raising the SIDS risk for your infant, and in your child’s decreased ability to breathe correctly or take in enough oxygen for a restful, restorative sleep at night.
Babies born to mothers who smoke are significantly lighter and shorter than those born to non smokers. Children who are exposed to tobacco smoke before birth or in the home are far more likely to suffer from respiratory illnesses and infections, which can also contribute to a decrease in quality of nighttime sleep for your baby.
The more cigarettes you or your baby’s caregiver smoke per day, the greater your baby’s chances of developing these and other health problems. Studies show that a baby’s risk of SIDS rises with each additional smoker in the household, with the number of cigarettes smoked a day, and with the length of exposure to cigarette smoke.
So give your baby and yourself the best chance at a restful night’s sleep and keep your home and your baby’s sleeping environment smoke-free. Your baby will thank you and you’ll sleep better knowing your baby’s risk for SIDS is greatly diminished and that your baby is breathing clean air with each breath he takes at night.