Smoking during pregnancy significantly increases the chance of miscarriage, but passive smoking throughout a woman’s lifetime also poses risks during pregnancy, a new study finds.
Passive smoking is linked to a higher risk of miscarriage, stillbirth and ectopic pregnancy, according to a large observational study published online in Tobacco Control.
In fact, women who smoked during their reproductive years were 16 percent more likely to miscarry, 44 percent more likely to have a stillborn child, and 43 percent more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy when compared to non-smokers, according to a news release.
Not smoking but breathing in secondhand smoke also elevates the risk for miscarriage and other pregnancy problems. The longer a woman or female child was exposed to secondhand smoke, the greater the risk when she became pregnant, the news release states.
“Those who had experienced the highest levels of lifetime exposure, including more than 10 years as a child, or more than 20 years as an adult at home, or more than 10 years in the workplace were 17 percent more likely to miscarry, 55 percent more likely to give birth to a stillborn child, and 61 percent more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy,” the release states.
The researchers drew on historical data from more than 80,000 women who had gone through menopause and been part of the Women’s Health Initiative study.
Just over 5,000 of the women were current smokers; just under 35,000 were ex-smokers, those who had smoked at least 100 cigarettes; and just under 41,000 were non-smokers. All had been pregnant at least once.
The group of non-smokers was then categorized according to the level of secondhand smoke they had been exposed to during childhood, as an adult at home, and as an adult at work.
Younger, and or, better educated women were less likely to miscarry or have birth complications; women of black and minority ethnic backgrounds and those who were overweight were more likely to do so.
Women who had never smoked were less likely to miscarry, have a stillborn child or an ectopic pregnancy than either current or former smokers, the data showed.
Source: Tobacco Control news release
+ Do you want to quit smoking? Read about tips to help people quit the habit for good.
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