When most women become pregnant, they change their lifestyle to protect their unborn child by watching what they eat, stopping drinking, and stopping smoking.
But a new study indicates that may not be enough.
A smoke-free home and work environment may be key.
Michael Jones has the details in today's Health Minute,
Even if you don't smoke when you're pregnant, just being around smokers, can increase the risk of harming your unborn baby.
A new study in the medical journal Pediatrics found that exposure to secondhand smoke increased a non-smoking pregnant woman's changes of having a stillborn by 23 percent, and increased the risk of delivering a baby with birth defects by 13 percent.
To draw their conclusions, the researchers analyzed the findings of 19 separate studies from around the world- focused on this issue.
They compared the statistics of non-smoking women in smoke-free environments to those who were exposed to smoke at home, work or other locations.
Experts say with regard to stillbirths and birth defects, secondhand smoke may be almost as dangerous to a baby as having a mother who smokes.
Scientists say cigarette smoke exposes people to 400 chemicals that have been shown to be toxic. Cigarettes contain heavy metals, dna damaging agents, and class one carcinogens - the most harmful ones known.
Experts want to encourage couples who smoke to stop before starting a family, and expectant mothers to avoid secondhand smoke, because no level of tobacco smoke exposure is safe.
For today's Health Minute, I'm Michael Jones