Effects Of Secondhand Smoke During Pregnancy And Its Prevention

The effect of secondhand smoke and pregnancy has become a subject of discussion in every prenatal and antenatal care center. So what secondhand smoke is all about? And what are the effects of secondhand smoke on pregnancy?

Secondhand smoke is the smoke that is inhaled by a non -smoker from burning end of cigarette or from a smoker who exhales the smoke while smoking. It is also called passive smoking. According to estimation only 15% of the smoke is inhaled by the smoker, while the rest 85% is exhaled out in the surrounding air.

Research suggests that if a non smoker spends one hour in a room with a person who is smoking cigarette, the non smoker inhales the smoke which is equal to one cigarette.

Passive smoking is responsible for morbidity and mortality of thousands of Americans each year, mostly from heart disease and cancer. You are at a risk of inhaling at least 4000 toxic substances, if by chance you inhale the smoke exhaled by the smoker. The main toxic substances include Tar, nicotine, carbon monoxide, benzene, ammonia, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide etc.

Effects Of Secondhand Smoke During Pregnancy

A pregnant woman who is exposed to passive smoke regularly, not only puts herself at risk but also her baby lying inside the womb.

Nicotine, carbon monoxide and various other toxic substances that are inhaled from a secondhand cigarette smoke reach into the blood stream and directly affect the baby. There is an increased risk of:

  • Still birth.
  • Miscarriage.
  • Low birth weight.
  • Allergies and asthma.
  • Decreased lung capacity.
  • Excessive bleeding and placenta problems.

After birth if the baby is exposed to passive smoking, the risk of suffering from following diseases increases and this include:

  • Sudden infant death syndrome. Infants who die of SIDS are known to have higher concentration of nicotine in their lungs than a normal infant who is not exposed to passive tobacco smoke.
  • Poor lung capacity, asthma and allergies.
  • Infection in the middle ear.
  • Developmental problems both at physical and mental level.
  • Delayed milestones.
  • Childhood malignancies. According to a research, the chemicals that the mother inhales from the passive smoke passes to the fetus inside her womb. It can cause genetic damage and can be a precipitating factor in causing childhood leukemia and other form of cancers.
  • Respiratory and heart disease when they become adult.
  • Infants born to mothers who were exposed to passive smoke are at a risk of developing feet and testicular deformities.

How To Prevent Second Hand Smoking?

You can avoid passive smoking during pregnancy by following some simple rules.

  • The best way to avoid passive smoking is to stay away from the person when he smokes.
  • Do not allow anyone to smoke inside your house. Tell politely to the person, and there is no harm in telling.
  • Ask the person to stop smoking in front and around you.
  • Do not visit places such as bars and restaurants where there are many people who smoke.
  • Pregnant women who are exposed to passive smoking are more likely to have sleep problems. Difficulty while sleeping, sleeping for a short while and waking up again.
  • Snoring and sleep apnea etc are some of the problems faced by the pregnant women.
  • Cough and cold and other respiratory tract infections are more common when she is exposed to passive smoking.