Smoking While Pregnant

Smoking While Pregnant

Smoking While Pregnant

Consumer health website, published the results of a recent study that found women who smoke while pregnant are increasing the risk that their child will have a significant birth defect.

Women who smoke while pregnant are increasing the risk that their child will have a significant birth defect, a new study claims. The study was published this month by researchers at University College London.

While much has been said about the effect of smoking on premature birth and birth weight, this new study has linked maternal smoking with a range of serious defects including heart defects, eye and facial deformities, missing fingers and toes, premature fusing of the skull bones, intestinal problems, and clubbed feet.

In this first ever comprehensive systematic review of congenital birth defects the researchers examined results from some 100 studies comprising nearly 175,000 birth defect cases and more than 11.5 million unaffected controls between 1959 to 2010.

After correcting for possible genetic or chromosomal factors, age, and alcohol consumption, they found that maternal smoking was tied to significantly increased risks of these birth defects.

Most of the malformations associated with maternal smoking have long term physical and psychological impacts for the infant and parents, and also attract significant healthcare costs for surgical treatment and hospital stays, the authors said.

'Congenital heart defects are a common and serious birth anomaly, and infants often require several operations during their lifetime. Similarly, limb reduction defects, hand and foot anomalies, including clubfoot, and oral clefts are all visible, and despite surgical treatment (sometimes painful), may result in disability," they wrote.

Published in Human Reproduction Update the authors said women planning on getting pregnant should be encouraged to quit either before or during the pregnancy. They recommended using nicotine replacement therapy (patches) if going cold turkey is too difficult.



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