Smoking affects pregnant women, children, say experts

New Delhi, May 31 (IANS) Highlighting the ill-effects of smoking on children and pregnant women, experts Friday said that counselling about the risks of smoking in pregnancy would help limit the use of tobacco among women.

“Smoking has a negative impact on maternal health,” Health Secretary Keshav Desaraju said.

To counsel pregnant women on smoking during pregnancy and its impact on the unborn’s health, the government has a national consultation session to limit the use of tobacco use among women and children, he said.

Suneeta Mittal, director and head of obstetrics and gynaecology at Fortis Memorial Research Institute, said: “Through this nationwide consultation sessions, we want to make healthcare professionals in reproductive and child health aware about the increasing use of tobacco in women and children.”

“During ante-natal check-ups, healthcare professionals should ask women about their tobacco use, educate them on the hazards of tobacco consumption on the unborn child and encourage them to quit tobacco in all forms,” she said.

Smoking affects women’s health more than men.

Passive and active smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of health and behavioural problems in the baby and is linked to infant mortality.

Chewing tobacco during pregnancy decreases the gestational age at birth and decreases birth weight.

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