World Lung Day: Shocking Side Effects of Passive Smoking During Pregnancy
Smoking is not only harmful to the health of the smoker, but also to everyone around him. On this World Lung Day, let’s discover the side effects of passive smoking for a pregnant woman and its impact on mother and baby.
Passive smoking is the inhalation of tobacco smoke, called second-hand smoke or environmental smoke, by someone other than the intended active smoker. Tertiary smoking is the inhalation of smoke left by cigarettes on objects such as clothing, furniture or carpets. So yes, even non-smokers can be negatively affected.
Tobacco exposure can affect all stages of pregnancy, says Dr Anagha Danny Laliwala, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynecologist, Masina Hospital, Byculla, Mumbai. The expert tells us all about how passive smoking can be harmful for a pregnant woman.
How does tobacco smoke affect pregnancy?
Cigarettes and cigars are made from tobacco leaves. Tobacco smoke contains about 7,000 chemicals, of which nearly 250 are harmful.
Nicotine: It works on the brain and in adults is responsible for addiction. In babies, it hinders the development of the nervous system of the fetus.
Carbon monoxide: It teaches the amount of oxygen received by the body. Thus affecting the overall growth of the baby.
Tar: It contains carcinogenic and teratogenic compounds that cause oxidative damage and birth defects
Cadmium and heavy metals are also sources of growth restriction in babies.
All of these compounds can cross the placenta and, through the umbilical cord, pass to the baby. Breathing in even a little smoke can be harmful to mother and child.
Also read: Is second-hand smoke as dangerous as active smoking? Let’s find out
The side effects of passive smoking on the baby
During the first trimester or first 3 months of pregnancy, exposure to smoke increases the risk of miscarriage by 11% and ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is the implantation of a fertilized egg outside the uterus. It always ends in pregnancy loss and can have serious and dangerous problems for the pregnant woman.
Birth defects: Babies who are exposed to tobacco smoke while in the womb are prone to various birth defects, especially cleft lip and cleft palate or both, which lead to difficulty in feeding properly and require surgery after birth.
Low birth weight in babies: The carbon monoxide and heavy metals in smoke can prevent the developing baby from getting enough oxygen and harm the unborn fetus.
Premature births and premature rupture of membranes: Chances of delivery before 37 weeks gestation are high, resulting in prolonged NICU stay and lifelong consequences.
Stillbirths: Babies can still be born.
Placental problems leading to bleeding during pregnancy: Abruptio placenta, which is premature separation of the placenta, and Placenta previa, which means abnormal implantation of the placenta, leading to vaginal bleeding and an increased risk of death for mother and baby are common.
Problems for the baby after birth:
SIDS: Sudden infant death syndrome, or unexpected death in the first days of birth.
Respiratory problems: Such as asthma, allergies, bronchitis, sinusitis, otitis and pneumonia
Learning disabilities, behavioral disabilities, ADHD.
The side effects of passive smoking on mothers
Mothers are prone to infections, bleeding and mental problems during pregnancy due to passive smoking. Later in life, they may be at greater risk for certain cancers, cardiovascular diseases and lung problems.
Also read: 6 things that happen when you smoke during pregnancy
How to avoid passive smoking
Education and counseling to increase awareness of the risks of passive smoking for the mother and unborn child are needed. The mother, husband or partner, household members and caregivers should also be included in the discussion.
Do not allow people to smoke in your home or car, even if the windows are kept open, as the smoke lingers in the air and settles on furniture, clothing and carpets, leading to further inhalation in as third hand.
You must exercise your right to ask smokers out. If you’re traveling, choose smoke-free restaurants, hotels, and maybe even rental cars.
Many studies are available to prove the side effects of passive smoking during pregnancy. As a society, we must take care of the health of mothers and our future generations.