Exposure to tobacco smoke affects all stages of human reproduction. Tobacco smoking affects both male and female fecundity. Maternal cigarette smoking is associated with increased risks for ectopic pregnancy, premature rupture of membranes, abruptio placentae, placenta previa, miscarriage, stillbirth, preterm birth, low birth weight and congenital anomalies such as cleft lip. After birth, the risk for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is increased among the offspring of women who smoked during or after pregnancy. Additionally, maternal exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS) in pregnancy has also been associated with a modest reduction in birth weight, and can increase the risk of low birth weight for the fetus, and hypertension for the mother. People are advised to quit smoking when they conceive.
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However, according to studies, merely leaving smoking is not enough to counter the effects of cigarette exposure. Many women get exposed to second-hand smoke. This might by through friends, and family members or the residue cigarettes leave behind. These types of indirect contact with cigarettes can also have detrimental effects on the health of you and your baby. ( Pregnancy period is defined as ‘from the first antenatal care contact up to six weeks postpartum’).
Effect of second-hand smoking on pregnancy
- Second-hand smoke falls under the category of product released in the atmosphere
- It occurs whenever someone who is smoking exhales smoke
- It may come from the end of smoking products containing tobacco
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- About 4,000 chemicals present in second-hand smoke, many of which have been determined to be related to cancer
- If someone is exposed to second-hand smoke during pregnancy, both she and her baby are at risk
Health conditions due to exposure to second-hand smoking:
- Low birth weight
- Early birth
- Learning deficiencies in the kid
- Behavioral deficiencies in the kid
Effect of third-hand smoking on pregnancy
- Pregnant women are exposed to this kind of smoke without realizing it
- Third-hand smoke is the waste left behind by cigarettes on objects like chair, in rugs, on tables, in paint etc.
- Third-hand smoke can be there for months or even years
- If a place smells like smoke, although no one is smoking, it has tobacco residue
- Toxins can enter the bloodstream of a person when they either touch something containing the residue or breathe in some of the wastes
It is best to avoid smoke & smoking entirely, to reduce the risks associated with tobacco.
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A pregnant woman should not only stay away from smoking actively but passively as well. If a couple is trying to conceive, it is recommended that they avoid smoking and being in environments where people are smoking.
Education and counselling to increase awareness in women of harms of exposure and means to minimize them, along with counselling of husbands, partners or other tobacco smoking household members should be done actively.
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