The social, medical, and legal aspects of maternal smoking during pregnancy are examined. Increasing social awareness of the fetus as a human being is described as emanating largely from modern prenatal screening technologies. Medical findings concerning the harms of maternal smoking to the fetus and developing child are then reviewed. The legal literature is considered within the context of women's rights. Two major trends are identified. The first is the prosecution of harmful maternal behaviors, and the second is extensive public education. It is asserted that despite repeated calls for action, actual attempts to help pregnant women quit smoking are meager. This finding is interpreted as resulting from the unclear status of both the fetus and smoking in general and from increased awareness of women's rights.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Professions (all)