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Quiz: Smoking and Pregnancy

  • Chris Woolston, M.S.
  • Posted March 11, 2013

At least 10 percent of American women smoke cigarettes during pregnancy, according to government statistics. Many don't understand the true dangers of smoking, and others simply don't know how to quit. How much do you know about smoking and pregnancy? Take this short quiz to find out.

1. Which of these complications is NOT more common among pregnant women who smoke?

a. Macrosomia (an overly large baby)

b. Miscarriage

c. Premature delivery

d. Stillbirth

2. Smoking can affect a fetus's developing brain.

True

False

3. Cutting back to just a few cigarettes a day is nearly as good as quitting.

True

False

4. Low-tar cigarettes are safer for expectant moms than regular cigarettes.

True

False

5. Once they put their mind to it, pregnant smokers usually find it very easy to kick the addiction.

True

False

6. Which of these problems is more common among children whose mothers smoked AFTER delivery?

a. Asthma

b. Allergies

c. Sudden infant death syndrome

d. All of the above

7. Smoking can make it harder for a woman to conceive.

True

False

Answers

1. Which of these complications is NOT more common among pregnant women who smoke?

The correct answer is: a. Macrosomia (an overly large baby)

A large baby is about the last thing a pregnant smoker has to worry about. In fact, smoking during pregnancy is a leading cause of underweight babies. The carbon monoxide in cigarette smoke blocks off a fetus's oxygen supply, making it hard for him or her to grow. Babies who are born too small often have underdeveloped lungs and other health problems.

2. Smoking can affect a fetus's developing brain.

The correct answer is: True

According to a report in the journal Respiration, the nicotine in cigarette smoke can interfere with a fetus's brain development. Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy may also have slightly more trouble thinking and reasoning, according to the report.

3. Cutting back to just a few cigarettes a day is nearly as good as quitting.

The correct answer is: False

As reported in the journal Seminars in Perinatology, just a few cigarettes a day raises the risk of a premature delivery or a stillbirth. Why take that chance? The best thing you can do for your baby is quit completely.

4. Low-tar cigarettes are safer for expectant moms than regular cigarettes.

The correct answer is: False

According to the National Cancer Institute, "light" cigarettes are no safer than regular cigarettes. Smokers who use low-tar brands tend to inhale more deeply to get their nicotine kick. As a result, they end up getting just as many toxins as they would with a full-tar cigarette. The only safe cigarette is the one that stays in the pack.

5. Once they put their mind to it, pregnant smokers usually find it very easy to kick the addiction.

The correct answer is: False

Pregnant women may have every reason in the world to quit smoking, but the addiction is hard to break. The American Lung Association (ALA) recommends setting a firm quit date, the sooner the better. If you can't quit immediately, cut back your smoking before taking the final step. If you have trouble kicking the habit, talk to your doctor or call your local ALA office for advice.

6. Which of these problems is more common among children whose mothers smoked AFTER delivery?

The correct answer is: d. All of the above (asthma, allergies, and sudden infant death syndrome, or SIDS)

Little lungs can't handle streams of smoke. Moms and dads should smoke outside or, better yet, give up the habit completely.

7. Smoking can make it harder for a woman to conceive.

The correct answer is: True

As reported in Nature Medicine, smoking can disrupt every step of female reproduction, from ovulation to the growth of an embryo. Avoiding cigarettes should be a top priority for any woman who sees children in her future.

References

American Lung Association. Smoking and pregnancy.

American Lung Association Fact Sheet: Smoking and pregnancy.

Cnattingius S and M Lambe. Trends in smoking and overweight during pregnancy: Prevalence, risks of pregnancy complications, and adverse pregnancy outcomes. Seminars in Perinatology. August, 2002. 26(4): 286-295.

Hellstrom-Lindahl E and A Nordberg. Smoking during pregnancy: A way to transfer the addiction to the next generation? Respiration. 2002. 69(4): 289-293.

US Department of Health and Human Services. New Report Spotlights Substance Abuse Among Pregnant Women. July/August 2005. http://www.samhsa.gov/SAMHSA_news/VolumeXIII_4/article6.htm

March of Dimes. Smoking During Pregnancy. April 2008. http://www.marchofdimes.com/professionals/14332_1171.asp

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