January is almost over, but it isn't too late to remind parents and grandparents that it is National Birth Defects Prevention Month.
Most women work hard to protect themselves and their unborn child during pregnancy by …
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Most women work hard to protect themselves and their unborn child during pregnancy by eating healthily, visiting the doctor and avoiding alcohol and tobacco use. What many don't realize is the risk of secondhand smoke exposure to moms-to-be and unborn babies.
According to a news release from S.C. Tobacco-Free Collaborative, studies show that secondhand smoke exposure during pregnancy increases the risk of stillbirth (when a fetus dies in the uterus) by 23 percent and increases the risk of birth defects by 13 percent. Exposure to secondhand smoke occurs when a non-tobacco user inhales smoke from people around them - a friend, spouse, grandparent, co-worker, etc.
Not only are birth defects and stillbirths devastating to families, but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also estimates birth defects cost the United States more than $2.6 billion each year from hospitalizations alone.
Megan Hicks, executive director for the South Carolina Tobacco-Free Collaborative, said she is hopeful that spouses and partners will reach out to community resources to help them quit using tobacco.
South Carolinians can contact the S.C. Tobacco Quitline at 1-800-QUIT-NOW / 1-800-784-8669 for free one-on-one professional coaching via telephone. Help is also available online at www.quitnow.net/southcarolina.
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