Smoking is not just injurious to the health of a smoker, but also to everyone else around that person. A person who is not the intended active smoker is considered to be passively smoking when they breathe in tobacco smoke, also known as secondhand smoke or passive smoke. Inhaling smoke that has been left behind by a cigarette on items like clothing, furniture, or rugs is known as third-hand smoke. Therefore, certainly, even non-smokers can be badly affected.
Tobacco exposure can tremendously affect pregnant women and their unborn babies.
How does smoking affect pregnancy?
Cigarettes and cigars are prepared from tobacco leaves. The smoke exhaled from tobacco releases approximately 7000 chemicals, of which approximately 250 are very dangerous. The chemical nicotine affects the brain and causes addiction. In babies, it hampers the foetal nervous system's development. It also releases carbon monoxide, which lessens the amount of oxygen in the body, affecting the overall growth of the baby. It also releases tar which has carcinogenic and teratogenic compounds that cause oxidative damage and birth defects. Cadmium and heavy metals are also responsible for growth restrictions in babies.
Side effects of Passive Smoking on Babies
In the first trimester of pregnancy, smoke exposure can lead to miscarriage (about 11 percent) and ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is the implantation of a fertilized egg outside the uterus. It can lead to pregnancy loss and have dangerous consequences for pregnant women.
Birth Defects: Babies who are exposed to passive smoking while in the womb are affected by various birth defects, especially the cleft lip and cleft palate, which cause problems while feeding and are in immediate need of surgery.
Low Birth Weight: Carbon Monoxide and heavy metals released from smoking can prevent the baby from getting enough oxygen and harm the foetus.
Premature Birth: Chances of preterm birth are high, leading to prolonged NICU stays and lifelong consequences.
Still Birth: The babies may be stillborn due to the effects of passive smoking. Placental problems leading to bleeding in pregnancy: Abruptio placental, which means premature separation of the placenta and placenta praevia, can lead to vaginal bleeding that tremendously affects both the mother and the child.
How to avoid passive smoking?
Education is important to increase awareness about the risks associated with passive smoking. All the members of the family should be counseled about this. Do not allow people inside the house to smoke around you. You should ask the people around you to step outside the house and then smoke. If you are traveling, choose restaurants, hotels, and cars that are smoke-free. Lots of studies are available to prove the dangerous effects of passive smoking. We, as a whole society, need to take care of the health of mothers and future generations.