Study: Secondhand Smoke Causing Untold Stillbirths in Developing CountriesWomen Health

August 02, 2018 09:56
Study: Secondhand Smoke Causing  Untold Stillbirths in Developing Countries

(Image source from: MomJunction)

In developing countries, it is rare for women to smoke while pregnant, but then their contact to secondhand smoke during pregnancy is a lot higher, according to a recent study by the Demographic and Health Survey which was carried out in 30 developing countries.

Contact to secondhand smoke through pregnancy upsurges the peril of miscarriage, congenital malformations, and low birth-weight. In response to these hazards, administrations have presented "smoke-free" laws, for instance, smoking bans in public places.

Though smoking is less insight at public places, private homes, and cars still it is recurrent in indoor private and public spaces in various developing countries.

This exposure poses health risks to defenseless people such as children and pregnant women. The study, based on the national estimates for 30 countries, is an initiative to report the degree to which pregnant women are exposed to secondhand smoke in developing countries.

In 13 out of the 30 countries, secondhand smoke exposure was 10 times higher than active smoking among pregnant women, and consequently much more deeply implicated in the number of stillbirths.


Findings suggest that smoking is a crucial donor to the indoor air pollution of homes in developing countries. Its influence on miscarriages is similar to that of biomass fuel use for cooking and heating, which is another chief source of indoor air pollution.

Ethnic taboos in developing countries on female smoking have dispirited women from taking up the practice, but smoking among men is still prevalent. The consciousness of harm caused by secondhand smoke exposure is often inferior in developing countries and in many male-controlled family structures women may not feel contented challenging males smoking nearby. It is so probable that the higher rates of secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy in developing country es reflect male smoking patterns.

Tackling health crisis

Protecting pregnant woman from exposure to secondhand smoking is key step in improving maternal and child well-being. It is vital for healthcare professionals working with the pregnant woman to be aware of the issues simultaneously be proactive in offering support and advise to a pregnant woman who is exposed to secondhand smoking.

By Sowmya Sangam

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