The dangers of smoking during pregnancy have long stopped pregnant women from lighting up; however, many fail to consider the impact that secondhand smoke can have upon their health and the health of their growing fetuses. While some discount the impact of secondhand smoke, studies have found that even being around cigarette smoke can have a serious impact, so pregnant women should avoid smoky settings whenever possible.
Impact of Secondhand Smoke
While some smokers contend that secondhand smoke is not dangerous, the National Cancer Institute argues otherwise. This organization reports that secondhand smoke leads to thousands of preventable deaths each year. Secondhand smoke is responsible for 3,400 deaths related to lung cancer annually and 46,000 heart disease-related deaths each year.
Two Types of Smoke
When pregnant women are around individuals who are smoking, they actually inhale two forms of smoke, reports the National Cancer Institute. These women inhale sidestream smoke, which is the smoke that comes directly from the cigarette, as well as mainstream smoke, which is the smoke that the smoker himself exhales. Both of these forms of smoke are dangerous to secondhand smoke inhalers, as they, when combined, contain more than 250 toxic chemicals.
Increased Miscarriage Risks
Secondhand smoke puts women at greater risk of miscarriage, reports JoinTogether.org. In a study of women in their first trimester of pregnancy, it was found that the majority of miscarriage suffers were around secondhand smoke on a regular basis.
Smokes Impact on Baby
Mothers who breathe secondhand smoke regularly may produce children with an assortment of problems as a result. The National Cancer Institute reports that pregnant women who regularly inhaled secondhand smoke were more likely to give birth to babies with lower birth weight. Additionally, the children these women have are more likely to have problems with their respiratory tract, including decreased lung function and asthma.
Speak Up, or Step Out
Because of the real risks associated with being around secondhand smoke during pregnancy, it is vital that pregnant women avoid secondhand smoke at all costs. If you are pregnant, make efforts to prevent inhaling secondhand smoke, as you could be putting your infant at risk if you do. If around friends or family members who smoke, consider asking them to put out their cigarettes. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, consider removing yourself from the setting to ensure your health and the health of baby.