Mom-to-be's passive smoking 'raises baby's stillbirth risk'

Mom-to-be's passive smoking 'raises baby's stillbirth risk'

Researchers at Nottingham University in UK have found that pregnant women exposed to smoke at work or home increased their risk of stillbirth by 23 per cent and of having a baby with defects by 13 per cent.

"It is very important that men quit smoking before trying for a baby," the 'BBC' quoted lead researcher Dr Jo Leonardi-Bee as saying.

He added: "The risks are related to the amount of cigarettes that are smoked so it is therefore very important for men to cut down. Ultimately though, in the interests of their partner and their unborn child, the best option would be to give up completely."

The researchers have based their findings on an analysis of 19 previous researches from around the world. The studies used to pull this research together were carried out in North America, South America, Asia and Europe.

All the studies focused on pregnant women who did not smoke themselves but were passive smokers due to their proximity to a partner who smoked or workplace colleagues who smoked. The data suggests that being exposed to more than 10 cigarettes a day is enough for the risks to be increased.

However, the study did not find an increased risk of miscarriage or newborn death from second-hand smoke -- only an increased risk of still birth and birth defects. The results didn't point to a link with specific congenital birth defect.

The researchers said that fathers who smoke should be more aware of the danger they pose to their unborn child.

Dr Leonardi-Bee said they still did not know when the effects of the second-hand smoke begin. "What we still don't know is whether it is the effect of sidestream smoke that the woman inhales that increases these particular risks or whether it is the direct effect of mainstream smoke the father inhales during smoking that affects sperm development or both.

"More research is needed into this issue although we already know that smoking does have an impact on sperm development, so it is very important that men quit smoking before trying for a baby."

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