Healthy Pregnancy, Healthy Children

You may have been shocked to hear that supermodel Kate Moss and ex-Atomic Kitten Kerry Katona admitted to smoking while pregnant. Belinda Carlisle of the Go-Go's "drank daily" while pregnant, admitting, "I didn't really pay attention to what other people said."

But even more shocking is the news that 8% of pregnant women in the U.S. smoke cigarettes and almost 4% smoke e-cigs, according to a survey published in JAMA Pediatrics. So, during the 6 million pregnancies (around 4 million live births) in the U.S. annually, 320,000 women are smoking cigarettes and 144,000 are vaping. Smoking increases the risk of preterm birth, birth defects (cleft lip or cleft palate) and infant death. Vaping is toxic because of the heavy metals in some liquids, not to mention nicotine.

There's more: 12% of pregnant women admit to drinking and 4% admit to binge drinking (that's four or more drinks) within the past month, according to info published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. A new international study finds that ANY prenatal exposure to alcohol is definitively connected to impaired cognitive abilities and related problems in teens. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cautions: "All types of alcohol are equally harmful, including beer and wine" and can cause "lifelong physical, behavioral, and intellectual disabilities."

Your best bet? Stop drinking and smoking before becoming pregnant. But, it's never too late to do the right thing. For smoking, call 1-800-QUIT-NOW or get tips from the Cleveland Clinic at For alcohol abuse, search "preconception counseling" at or find a local 12-step program at

© 2019 Michael Roizen, M.D. and Mehmet Oz, M.D.
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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