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Smoking and Teen Pregnancy
Teen pregnancy and teen smoking are two grave threats to teen health. Yet statistics show high rates of smoking among pregnant teens. Parents can help prevent smoking and teen pregnancy. If teens are pregnant and smoke, they need to get help and quit, for their own health and their baby’s.
Teens are the group most likely to smoke during pregnancy. Though the numbers of teens who smoke has been declining in recent years, the number of pregnant teens who smoke tobacco has remained high.
Cigarette smoke contains thousands of chemicals, many of which may be harmful to pregnant women and their babies. Smoking other drugs or using other forms of tobacco is also especially dangerous during pregnancy.
Smoking during pregnancy can cause dangerous complications for the baby and the mother, such as increased risk for:
Many of these dangers are also present for pregnant teens who are exposed to secondhand smoke, meaning that they are around people who smoke, such as in their home, in a car, or hanging out with friends. Pregnant teens should avoid smoking and being around people who smoke whenever possible.
Though smoking at any time during pregnancy is dangerous, if a teen is able to quit during pregnancy, she reduces many of the risks associated with smoking. Pregnant teens who already smoke and can't quit may need to talk to their doctor about ways to help them quit smoking, which may include joining a support group, getting counseling, or other treatments approved by their doctor.
Because pregnant teens who quit during pregnancy are at risk of smoking again after the baby is born, teens should focus on starting healthier habits so they stay smoke free. Smoking around babies and children increases their risk for breathing problems and other health problems, and endangers the health of the mother as well.
Pregnant teens may smoke because they feel stress from the pressures of pregnancy and motherhood. These teens can learn healthier ways of managing stress, such as:
Parents and others can help teens who are at risk for smoking during pregnancy, or who are pregnant and smoke, in several ways:
Sources:March of Dimes, Fact Sheets, "Teenage Pregnancy" and "Smoking During Pregnancy" [online]
Nemours, TeensHealth, "Having a Healthy Pregnancy" [online]
California Department of Education, "Teen Pregnancy and Parenting in California" [online]
Marrecca Fiore, Fox News, "Teen Pregnancy Rate Hits 15-year High" [online]
MayoClinic, Tween and Teen Health, "Teen Smoking: 10 Ways to Help Teen Stay Smoke Free" [online]
Related Article: Teen Pregnancy Health Risks >>