Pregnant non-smokers inhaling second-hand smoke have an increased risk of delivering babies with defects or stillborn babies. Researchers looked at the potential effects of passive smoking on newborn death, congenital birth defects and miscarriage. The risk of still birth was increased by 23% and passive smoking was linked to an increased congenital birth defect risk of 13%.
The results of the study emphasize the importance of fathers to refrain from smoking around their partners who are pregnant and warning women of the potential dangers of passive smoking both before pregnancy and while pregnant. It’s well known that smoking while pregnant carries numerous serious health risks for the unborn baby which includes premature birth, low birth weight, fetal mortality as well as various serious birth defects like heart problems, club foot and cleft palate.
Considering that passive smoking exposes people to the same number of tobacco toxins as active smokers, coming into contact with second-hand smoke probably increases the risk of some of all of these complications as well.
The results came from a review of 19 studies done in Europe, North and South America, and Asia which focused on non-smoking pregnant women who were exposed to second-hand smoke in the workplace by colleagues or in the home by their partners.
An increased risk of newborn death or miscarriage from second-hand smoke was not found and was not linked to any single congenital defect – only after the results from all the studies were collected was the overall increase seen.
Fathers who smoke need to be more aware of the danger they present to their unborn child and it’s important to protect women from passive smoking both before and throughout pregnancy.
The risks are linked to the quantity of cigarettes that are smoked – the data indicates that exposure to about 10 or more cigarettes per day is enough for increased risk so it’s vital for men to cut down. The best option though, in the interests of their partner and their unborn child would be to quit smoking completely.