Washington, Feb 27 (IANS): Scientists have linked secondhand smoke (SHS) with miscarriages and other outcomes in pregnant women, which could help public health professionals formulate guidelines.
Secondhand smoking is linked with pregnancy loss, including miscarriage, stillbirth and tubal ectopic pregnancy, according to a new research by scientists at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) and the University at Buffalo (UB).
The study findings, published online by the journal Tobacco Control, mark a significant step towards clarifying the risks of secondhand smoke exposure.
"This study demonstrated that pregnancy outcomes can be correlated with secondhand smoking. Significantly, women who have never smoked but were exposed to secondhand smoke were at greater risk for fetal loss," says the study's lead investigator, Andrew Hyland, PhD, Chair of RPCI's Department of Health Behavior, reported Science Daily.
This study is significant in two ways: One, it considered lifetime secondhand smoking exposure rather than only during pregnancy or reproductive years, taking into consideration smoke exposure in participants' childhood and adult years. Two, the comparison group of never-smokers was limited to women without any SHS exposure, producing a truer control group compared to previous studies.
"This study offers new information for women regarding the lifetime impact secondhand smoke can have on reproductive outcomes and their ability to successfully bring a pregnancy to full term," says Hyland.
"The strength of the study also provides public-health professionals and others with information upon which to base health guidelines about the significant consequences of secondhand smoke."