Smoking during pregnancy has been found to be harmful to the unborn child, and secondary smoke has long been recognized as a health risk for children. Doctors and health care providers keep on pointing out the hazards: aside the risk for the mother-to-be there are the consequences for the children: low baby birth weights, respiratory problems for children.
In the meantime there is another good reason for the pregnant woman (and other household members) to quit. Passive smoking for the unborn child and in childhood seems to have a lasting effect on the airways. There is an increased risk for adult respiratory problems and asthma, reports Dr.Trude Duelien-Skoge, who is a respiratory physician at the University of Bergen, Norway. A long-term study was concluded between 1985 and 1996 involving 2,819 adults. Those participants, who had been exposed to tobacco smoke as unborn babies, were three times more likely to develop adult asthma than individuals whose mothers were non-smokers. Exposure to tobacco smoke in childhood alone was associated with a two-fold risk for adult asthma.
The worst consequences were born by the group that was exposed to tobacco smoke as unborn children and during childhood: they were three-and-a-half times more likely to develop asthma as adults. Several studies pointed to the fact that there are structural changes in the airways of children who had prenatal exposure to tobacco smoke. This does not come as a surprise, as many toxic chemicals from cigarette smoke pass freely across the placenta, and prenatal smoke exposure has been associated with a host of childhood illnesses. From early changes the road is paved to either slow progression of disease or inducing vulnerability in the airways, which only becomes evident with later exposures.
Due to the far-reaching health risk it is all the more important to be aware of prevention: neither should the unborn child be exposed to cigarette smoke, nor should the growing child be subjected to it, and all efforts should be made to convince the adult smoker of the benefits of quitting smoking.
More information on:
High risk pregnancies: http://nethealthbook.com/womens-health-gynecology-and-obstetrics/pregnancy-labor-delivery-2/high-risk-pregnancies/
Reference: The Medical Post, May 3, 2005, page 25
Last edited October 28, 2014