Exposure to Secondhand Smoke During Pregnancy Is Even Worse Than We Thought

This Just In 16

cigaretteWe all know that smoking is a huge no-no during pregnancy, because, well, duh -- it just is. It's horrible for both you and your baby and can lead to all sorts of serious health problems -- and it also literally stinks. (So gross.)

And even if you aren't a smoker, simply being around someone else who does smoke can also be very detrimental to you and your unborn child.

But it turns out accidentally inhaling a few puffs of someone else's cigarette while pregnant may be even worse than anyone expected. A new study has found that secondhand smoke during pregnancy may increase your child's risk for behavior problems down the road.

Jianghong Liu, associate professor of nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, led a team of researchers who examined over 600 moms and their children in China. Mothers were asked to state how often they remembered being exposed to secondhand smoke during pregnancy, and then behavior problems in their kids ages 5 and 6 were looked at.

What they found was very interesting. Moms who reported being exposed to secondhand smoke for 30 minutes a day or more had kids who were twice as likely to have behavior problems at the age of 5 years old.

Wow. Who would've thought that being around smokers could not only have an impact on your unborn baby's health, but also his behavior? If that's not one more convincing reason to avoid smokers altogether or encourage family members who smoke to do so far away from you when you're expecting -- I don't know what is.

I can remember being absolutely neurotic about making sure I was nowhere in the general vicinity of a lit cigarette when I was pregnant with my son. I wasn't above making noises and expressions of total disgust if anyone around me chose to light up, and honestly, I was blatantly offended that they'd do so in my presence -- whether they knew me or not.

And I was only concerned with the potential health problems my baby and I were at risk for -- not the behavior stuff. If I'd known that, I don't even want to know how much more of a nervous wreck I would've been every time I got so much as a whiff of a cigarette.

And who knows how many other unknown problems secondhand smoke can possibly cause? If you're pregnant -- do your best to stay away from it at all costs. The end.

Have you been around smokers during your pregnancy?


Image via Fried Dough/Flickr

pregnancy health, smoking, behavior


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lalab... lalaboosh

Smokers are so rude about it! I was at a bus stop with a no smoking sticker posted and this guy stands next to me and lights up! I politely showed him the sticker and asked him to go down wind from the stop. He refused, so I got less polite and asserted myself a bit firmer. I told him I had every right to sit at the bus stop without being subjected to second hand smoke, especially with the no smoking sign backing me up. He still refused so I moved and told him I was pregnant and that I shouldn't have to tell him that to get him to move OR move myself. That's when he finally moved downwind and decided to yell at me until the bus came. Cool guy.

nonmember avatar Jill

My mother smoked during her pregnancy carrying myself and my brother. Neither of us had any behavioral problem. Ever. You can't listen to any studies good or bad unless you are educated on the exact surroundings. Otherwise it's called theory. Ignorance is bliss.

JLo1486 JLo1486

"Potential" problems. Also, this study shows nothing. Most children between 5 and 6 have some kind of "behavior " issues. Why? Because they are 5 and 6. Also, they don't know any other variables these families were involved with. It's like when you go to the Dr and they tell you that they got a hang nail from smoking.

jessle jessle

this whole thing kills me.. My mom smoked with me and my sister .My Grandmother smoked with all 8 of her kids.This is just another excuse to not whip their little butts. Why make kids accountable for their own actions? Just b/c some one smkes does nto make them a bad person they jsut have a bad habit.. So go have a smoke on this..

nonmember avatar Kat

@Jill, it is even worse to argue a study with personal experience.. Just because you and your brother didn't suffer from your mother smoking, it doesn't mean anything in the light of this survey that examined 600 mothers.. There's always an exception to the rule and these studies are based on a trend/pattern. But I do agree it is difficult to close out other factors.. But nevertheless I found your comment "because we didn't suffer from it, it ain't true" a good example of blissful ignorance.

Phyll... PhyllisGB

I sat next to a chain-smoking co-worker during my first 2, very brief pregnancies.  He was a super nice guy, though.  Then, the whole office became smoke-free, and I had my only viable pregnancy.  I did have a co-worker who smoked during her entire pregnancy and I would never, ever criticize someone for that (kept my thoughts to myself).  So......*I* was criticized for drinking 2 cups of coffee during?  O kay........

nonmember avatar Elizabeth

I am highly allergic to cigarette smoke! I get physically ill if I even breath it just a little. Some smokers are so rude! They refuse to understand that others can get sick by their smoke. Like smoking for 10 minutes in the small mail room where everyone has to get their mail.

franm... franmarden

Elizabeth, thank you for saying "some smokers" instead of grouping all together like another commenter did.  I do smoke.  However, I am very considerate of other people who do not smoke.  I do know that some smokers are not considerate at all.  But because there are a few bad apples, you can't group them all together.  That would be like me saying that everyone who drinks is a drunkard or a drunk driver, it is completely false.

Rubys... RubysMommy

lalaboosh, you do realize that bus you were getting on produces more poisonous toxins in the air then 1 cigarette right? Every time you start a vehicle, you inhale those toxins. I'm so sick of "secondhand smoke" propaganda, like a cigarette being burned near you is so atrocious it may cause 50 years of your future family's medical problems. Jeez, the sun can give you cancer, cows produce most of the methane in the world, plastic can cause cancer; but people still talk about smokers like it's a bane or something. I'm a very considerate smoker, if anyone comes within 10 feet of me smoking (outside, cause you can't smoke inside anymore) I always blow my smoke in the other direction or try to move away from them.  But my whole life as a smoker, I have been looked down on just because I smoke, does anyone at a bar get the evil eye from any of you for drinking alcohol when it "could" potentially kill someone i.e. drunk driving, alcoholism.....no probably not because you can't smell how "gross it is".



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