Health and Environment|

Secondhand smoke increases risk of stillbirth and miscarriage

Scientists say that fathers-to-be must quit smoking if they wish to save their unborn children from the risk of birth defects or stillbirths. University of Nottingham scientists concluded that pregnant women who come into contact with smoke at home or at work increase their vulnerability of stillbirth by 23% and the risk of birth defects by 13%.

The researchers studied 19 previous studies carried out around the world. A UK scientist stated it was urgent for women to learn the risks of passive smoke.

The studies that fueled this research were carried out in Europe, Asia, North America, and South America. They all focused on pregnant women who were passive smokers, but were not smokers themselves. They were exposed to second-hand smoke from a partner or co-workers who smoked. The collective data from the studies indicate that exposure to over 10 cigarettes per day may be enough to increase the risks.

But the study conducted by the University of Nottingham only found a heightened risk of birth defects and stillbirth, not a higher risk of newborn death or miscarriage due to passive smoke. The studies did not find a link to any specific birth defect.

The researchers also suggest that smoking fathers should be aware of the hazard they pose to their expected child. Prior research has suggested that pregnant smoking women cause dangerous health risks, including premature birth, low birth weight, and serious birth defects like heart problems, cleft palates, and club foot.

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