Monday, September 8, 2014

Africa has lowest tobacco use while pregnant

A recent study published in the September edition of the Lancet Global HealthJournal shows that Africa has the lowest tobacco use in women who are pregnant.  Currently Southeast Asia has the highest percentage of women using tobacco while pregnant.  The study was done from 2001 to 2012 and looked at tobacco use while pregnant throughout the world.  The study estimates that one in every 30 women used tobacco.  Tobacco use was more common in low-income and middle-income women than the upper-class.  In Turkey, the percentage was around 15% of women.   

Tobacco use in pregnant woman has been linked to high blood pressure or preeclampsia, asthma, premature delivery, low birth weight, and even placental abruption.  The risks are high for both mom and child when smoking while pregnant.  Second hand smoke has also been known to hurt a fetus and even if mom doesn’t smoke if she is around people that do smoke the baby can still develop problems in the womb. 

“Pooled prevalence of any tobacco use in pregnant women in LMICs was 2-6 per cent; the lowest prevalence was in the African region 2-0 per cent and the highest was in the Southeast Asian region 5-1 per cent.

The pooled prevalence of current tobacco smoking in pregnant women ranged from 0-6 per cent in the African region to 3-5 per cent in the Western Pacific region.

The pooled prevalence of current smokeless tobacco use in pregnant women was lowest in the European region 0-1 per cent and highest in the Southeast Asian region 2-6 per cent.

It said worldwide, use of tobacco is viewed as an important threat to the health of pregnant women and their children, adding that overall, tobacco use in pregnant women in LMICs was low; however high prevalence estimates were noted in some LMICs.”

There have been many attempts to warn pregnant or soon to be pregnant women about the risks associated with tobacco use.  There is even a British TV show that tries to help expectant mothers with their addictions to alcohol and tobacco. 

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