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Does Being Around Secondhand Smoke Affect My Unborn Baby In Any Way?

By Rachel Lacourciere, edHelperBaby

  Does Being Around Secondhand Smoke Affect My Unborn Baby In Any Way?
           Secondhand smoke (also referred to as passive smoking or environmental tobacco smoke) consists of the smoke that is exhaled by the tobacco user as well as the smoke that comes from the cigarette itself.  Secondhand smoke (SHS) has been proven to be dangerous since it is composed of poisonous gases that have been linked to causing lung cancer, breathing problems, and irritation of the eyes, lungs and throat as well as other diseases.  When a smoker exhales, the smoke contains nicotine, tar, and carbon monoxide, a toxic gas that decreases the amount of oxygen in our blood.       

       Some recent research has found that when a pregnant woman exposes herself (and, therefore, her unborn baby) to SHS that it can be just as dangerous as the woman herself smoking.  The results of the current research assert that the genetic damage caused by SHS mirrors the damage caused by direct exposure.  When a pregnant woman is exposed to SHS:
  • Nicotine can be found in her blood, which is then passed onto her unborn baby.
  • Her baby's lungs may not properly develop in the womb.
  • She puts her baby at greater risk of having a low birthweight, increasing the baby's susceptibility to illness.
  • She puts herself at greater risk of having a stillbirth or miscarriage.


  Avoiding Secondhand Smoke While You Are Pregnant
           Now that you know the dangers secondhand smoke poses for your unborn baby, here are some guidelines to consider that will minimize your exposure while you are pregnant:
  • Do not allow smoking in or around your house.
  • Do not allow smoking in your car.
  • Do not allow smoking in or around your workplace.  (If this is not possible, speak to your employer about ways you can minimize your exposure while you are pregnant.)
  • Arrange to meet family and friends at a smoke-free venue if going out.

       Take the time to talk to your regular prenatal doctor about any additional questions or concerns you may have about secondhand smoke.


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