Background: The objective was to describe the extent of passive smoking exposure and preventive actions against passive smoking in non-smoking pregnant women and to analyze factors associated with preventive actions.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey on 1449 never-smoking pregnant women who made their first prenatal visit to the Women and Children's Hospital of Guangzhou, China during 1996-97.
Results: 60.2% (95% Confidence Interval 57.7%-62.7%) of the never-smoking pregnant women had a husband who currently smoked. Women with smoking husbands (n=872) were more exposed to ETS than those with non-smoking husbands (n=577) at home (71% vs. 33%), in public places (77% vs. 66%) and at work (60% vs. 50% of working women), and they took less actions against passive smoking in public places. Women with better education and knowledge on smoking and passive smoking had stronger preventive actions.
Conclusions: Non-smoking pregnant women in China are often exposed to passive smoking and their preventive actions are weak. Passive smoking is an important obstetric and public health problem in developing countries and deserves urgent international attention.