November is Infant Prematurity Month and, the Wisconsin African American Tobacco Prevention Network (WAATPN) is reminding expectant mothers of the harmful events of smoking or being exposed to second and third-hand smoke. According to the March of Dimes, babies born to women who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to be born with birth defects such as cleft lip or palate, prematurely at low birth weight or under weight for the number of weeks of pregnancy. This means that babies born prematurely and at low birth weight are also at risk of other serious health problems, including lifelong disabilities (such as intellectual disabilities and learning problems), and in some cases, death.
It’s also important to remember that breathing in someone else’s smoke (or second hand smoke) is also harmful. Exposure to secondhand smoke during pregnancy can cause babies to be born at low birth weight. Premature babies are more likely to die from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome), are at greater risk for asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, ear infections, and respiratory symptoms and may experience slow lung growth
The March of Dimes also reports that there is recent research that suggests that third-hand smoke—made up of the toxic gases and particles left behind from cigarette or cigar smoking–clings to things like clothing, hair, sofas and carpets well after the smoke from a cigarette or cigar has cleared the room. That’s why many times you can identify smokers by the smell of cigarettes or cigars that linger on clothing or in homes or cars of people who smoke. Cracking car windows when smoking or smoking in another room does not keep others away from the harm caused by cigarettes or cigars.
As a representative of 5000 MKE Moms, I am pleased to support the WAATPN. 5000 MKE Moms mission is to connect all messages of health during pregnancy and while parenting. November will focus on messages to continue practicing a tobacco free lifestyle. Our #momsmotivation hashtag is known for positive and motivational messages for moms and their families. 5000 MKE Moms, one mom at a time, is committed to identifying other moms who take the lead in eliminating Health Disparities in Birth Outcomes in Milwaukee, WI.
Please join the WAATPN as we work to make families—especially expectant moms— more aware of the dangers of exposing their unborn babies to smoke and other tobacco products, so that they can have better and healthier outcomes for their babies.