Thursday, April 25, 2013

Pregnant Apartment Living: What to do About My Smoking Neighbors

Secondhand smoke during pregnancy alters children's behavior. — Environmental Health News

I read articles like the above link and I freak out. I lived with an ADHD child growing up, and while he's awesome now, it was *difficult* then to say the least, not only for him, but also for everyone around. I've seen other ADHD kids suffer through social and school issues that appear to be outright painful. I don't wish that on my child. I don't want anything I do now (or ever) to cause problems for my child later in life.

As a pregnant woman, there are so many ways I could screw up my kid. I eat balanced meals as much as I can. I try to exercise regularly. I've never been a heavy drinker so not drinking during pregnancy is easy. I've never been a smoker, so steering clear of cigarette smoke is easy...

Ha! Lies!

It seems every other person who lives in Oakland smokes. It drives me crazy. When I wasn't pregnant I didn't like it, but I could suffer through it. But now? I feel like secondhand smoke is a personal assault on my unborn baby. This is made worse by the fact my neighbors, just 2 doors down, are heavy smokers.

They smoke several times a day when at home that I've observed. During certain times of day, thanks to water and air temperatures near the estuary, the smoke wafts right into our loft if the windows are open.

I know what you're thinking - just close the windows. Problem solved. Except it's getting hot. I can't just close the windows every time because I'll fry in here with my pregnant lady body temperature. So, the question is, do I become *that* lady? The one who asks my neighbors to smoke somewhere else because I'm pregnant? Do I ask management to do this for me like a crazy person? Do I just force myself to suffer through the heat several times a day like a wimp because I don't know these people?

So far I've been going the wimp route, mostly because I don't know them and I only see them when they are outside smoking (and I really don't want to approach them putting myself in direct contact with the smoke). I've asked Christian to talk to them for me, but so far he has refused, saying I should do it myself. I think after showing him that article I may convince him it's better for the non-pregnant man to take care of this, just this time.

Sheesh. Who knew the pitfalls of being pregnant in an apartment would include this?! Oh to live in my own house!


  1. I know exactly what you're going through. Sadly, even with closing the windows it still comes in somehow. I haven't figured out how it's getting in, and I'm 36 weeks along now.

    I've already talked to my upstairs neighbor about this, and he seemed to be avoiding going into the matter with me. I'm intending to go talk to him again tomorrow about statistics I've found concerning the slowed development of fetal lungs, and increase of SIDS in infants this can cause to see if I can find a way to get him to smoke somewhere else.

    The other thing I'm doing tomorrow is talking to my landlord about getting all of the doors, windows, air vents, electrical outlets, plumbing, and even the light fixtures in the ceiling sealed to ensure it keeps it out. You may want to consider getting an air filter that can filter smoke, or seeing if this can count as a reason to let you break your lease and move somewhere safer.

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