Q: Is second hand smoke harmful to my baby?

A: According to research, second hand smoke is just as harmful to the fetus as first hand smoke. The chemicals and carcinogens present in first hand smoke are still present in second hand smoke. If the pregnant mother is around multiple people that smoke, the chance of risk may be even higher than if she smoked herself.

The study involved information collected from past smoking studies. The effects of second hand smoke on the baby were Smoking During Pregnancynearly identical when the pregnant woman smoked as when she was around second hand smoke during the pregnancy. Doctors noted that the effect of smoke on the fetus may not be noticeable at birth and thus the mother may feel she "got away with it."In reality, the effects of smoke may not show up until later in life. Babies born to mothers who smoke are more susceptible to illness, asthma, cancer and decreased life span.

The research also noted that while quitting smoking during pregnancy is advised, the effects of the smoking on baby may occur very early on before the mother has stopped smoking. These effects are irreversible in the fetus.

Women who do not smoke, but are around people who do should ask that all smoking take place outside. While this will not completely stop the effect of the smoke on mother or baby as smoke clings to the skin and clothing, it will reduce the effect. The best option for women who smoke is to stop smoking before they become pregnant.