It might not come as a surprise that a baby's health may be impacted if the mother smokes during pregnancy. But did you know that it doubles the risk of delivering a low birth weight baby and increases the risk of delivery of a preterm birth?
The main reason is that smoking delivers the harmful chemicals tar, nicotine, and carbon monoxide to the fetus. These substances reduce the baby's oxygen supply, slowing its growth and development. The more cigarettes a woman smokes, the more likely she is to have an underweight baby.
The good news: A mother can reduce her baby's risk of being born underweight by quitting smoking at any point in the pregnancy, according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).