Effects Of Passive Smoking During Pregnancy

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Secondhand smoke or passive smoking is the smoke exhaled into the environment by a tobacco smoker, or the smoke that comes from the end of tobacco-containing smoking products. Approximately 4,000 chemicals are present in second hand smoke, many of which may cause cancer. Exposing yourself to secondhand smoke during pregnancy puts you and your baby at health risk. More than 126 million nonsmokers are exposed to SHS in the United States, and home smoking comprises the most common site of SHS exposure. 1

Toxins present in the smoke and the objects that come in contact with the smoke can enter the bloodstream of pregnant mothers. Nicotine, carbon monoxide and other chemicals can cross the placenta affecting her unborn child.2 These toxins then reach the growing baby and can cause many dangerous health conditions, some of which have no cure. Some of the effects of passive smoking during pregnancy are discussed here.

Low Birth Weight

Low Birth Weight_Effects Of Passive Smoking During Pregnancy

Women who were exposed to passive smoking for over an hour per day at home or outside had babies who were lighter compared to non-exposed women. Many studies show a clear association between passive smoking and low birth weight (LBW). It is important to create awareness of the harmful effects of tobacco and its products, especially to husbands and others who are in close proximity to pregnant women.3

Prenatal exposure of the human fetus to tobacco smoke through maternal passive smoking has been epide-miologically linked not only to reduced birth weight, but also enhanced susceptibility to respiratory diseases and changes in the immune system.4

Female Infertility

Female Infertility_Effects Of Passive Smoking During Pregnancy

Exposure to passive smoking may cause infertility in women as the smoke can cause chromosome errors, which affect reproductive outcomes. Smoking inhibits embryo fragmentation and inhibition may determine the survival advantage to embryos genetically altered. Smoking is also associated with low sperm quality.5

Birth Defects

Birth Defects_Effects Of Passive Smoking During Pregnancy

Passive smoke may even lead to birth defects in babies. The toxins present in the smoke can cause limb reduction defects, clubfoot, oral clefts, eye defects and gastrointestinal effects. Many studies have been conducted, which show clearly associate passive smoking and birth defects.6 Cigarette smoke is often associated with intrauterine growth restriction and the risk of congenital abnormality for babies born of smoking mothers is estimated to be as much as 2.3 times more than that of the non-smokers.7

Premature Birth

Premature Birth_Effects Of Passive Smoking During Pregnancy

A study found that smokers were five times more likely to develop a doubling of risk of premature labor. It also found that passive smokers had significantly higher risks than non-smokers for hypertension, anemia, and premature rupture of membrane (PROM).8

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)

Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)_Effects Of Passive Smoking During Pregnancy

The sudden, unexplained, unexpected death of an infant before one year of age also known as SIDS has been studied in relation to the exposure of the fetus and infant to smoking by mothers and others during the preconception, prenatal, and postpartum periods. 9The evidence from studies that associate secondhand smoke exposure with an increased risk of SIDS indicates that eliminating secondhand smoke exposures among newborns and young infants should be part of an overall strategy to reduce the high infant mortality rate in the United States.


Miscarriage_Effects Of Passive Smoking During Pregnancy

In a study conducted in Hong Kong, it was reported that if husbands smoked more than 20 cigarettes per day, their wives were twice as likely to have a miscarriage or spontaneous abortion than were women whose husbands did not smoke.10

Exposure to smoke causes obstetric and fetal complications and there is growing evidence of serious harm extending into childhood and even adulthood. There is no such thing as a safe level of SHS exposure.11 Women are motivated to protect their baby’s health, and quitting smoking during pregnancy reduces the risk of complications. Exposure to tobacco smoke affects both male and female fertility and it all stages of human reproduction.12

References   [ + ]

1, 11. Mojibyan, Mahdiyeh, Mehran Karimi, Reza Bidaki, Parivash Rafiee, and Asghar Zare. “Exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy and preterm delivery.” International journal of high-risk behaviors & addiction 1, no. 4 (2013): 149.
2. Effects of smoking on children. Quit. 2016.
3. Norsa’adah, Bachok, and Omar Salinah. “The effect of second-hand smoke exposure during pregnancy on the newborn weight in Malaysia.” The Malaysian Journal of Medical Sciences 21, no. 2 (2014): 44.
4. Nelson, E. D., Karin Jodscheit, and Yuanjian Guo. “Maternal passive smoking during pregnancy and fetal developmental toxicity. Part 1: gross morphological effects.” Human & experimental toxicology 18, no. 4 (1999): 252-256.
5. Zenzes, Maria Teresa. “Smoking and reproduction: gene damage to human gametes and embryos.” Human Reproduction Update 6, no. 2 (2000): 122-131.
6, 10. on Smoking, Office. “Reproductive and Developmental Effects from Exposure to Secondhand Smoke.” (2006).
7. Mojibyan, Mahdiyeh, Mehran Karimi, Reza Bidaki, Parivash Rafiee, and Asghar Zare. “Exposure to second-hand smoke during pregnancy and preterm delivery.” International journal of high risk behaviors & addiction 1, no. 4 (2013): 149.
8. Amasha, Hadayat A., and Malak S. Jaradeh. “Effect of active and passive smoking during pregnancy on its outcomes.” (2014).
9. on Smoking, Office. “Reproductive and Developmental Effects from Exposure to Secondhand Smoke.” (2006).
12. Mendelsohn, Colin, Gillian S. Gould, and Cheryl Oncken. “Management of smoking in pregnant women.” Australian family physician 43, no. 1/2 (2014): 46.