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A Study Found a Link Between Smoking and Pre-eclampsia

Published : Thursday June 26, 2014 | Posted in : News

10thSmoking has been associated with many diseases. One more health risk has been associated with smoking among pregnant women by researchers.

According to a study carried at the University of Nottingham by the Genetics of Pre-Eclampsia Consortium, pregnant women who smoke put the lives of their unborn babies at risk. This study was funded by the British Heart Foundation and strongly supports the opinion of many leading experts who advise that expectant mothers should quit smoking whilst pregnant.

The Study

The study was performed on 1001 white Western European women and their babies. These women had moderate to severe pre-eclampsia. The study was led by Professor Broughton Pipkin of the School of Human Development.

Results of the study

The results of the study showed that women smokers gave birth to premature babies and the risks of developing eclampsia were high.

  • Out of the total 1001 women, 38.8 percent smokers delivered premature babies as compared to 21.3 percent of non-smokers
  • 46.1 percent of smokers delivered low birth weight babies when compared to 27.9 percent non-smokers
  • 65.6 percent of smokers delivered babies with adverse conditions when compared to 60 percent of former smokers and 50.4 percent of non-smokers

Notable views

A cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, Ellen Mason said, "Research like this study from The University of Nottingham is vital to help us understand the full effects of lifestyle choices on our heart and circulatory health and that of our children. Smoking is clearly potentially very harmful to mother and baby, and we need to support women in quitting at every stage of pregnancy."

Professor Fiona Broughton Pipkin said, "Pre-eclampsia and eclampsia are the second most frequent cause of death in pregnancy in this country and cause an estimated 70,000 deaths worldwide among pregnant women each year. In 2005, 742 babies died as a direct result of pregnancy hypertension in England and Wales. Ten times this number are delivered prematurely for the same reason. They risk short-term breathing problems, potential brain damage and long-term cardiovascular disease. The deaths are the tip of an iceberg for hospital admissions and worry for mothers, babies and families."

Effects of smoking in pregnancy

The risks to pregnant women smokers are recognised by health communities worldwide. In the UK, about 30 per cent of pregnant women smoke. According to researchers, smoking during pregnancy can lead to health problems for the unborn child.

Due to smoking habits among pregnant women, about 4000 fetal deaths occur every year. It also includes miscarriages. Smoking among pregnant women also leads to premature births, low birth weight, cot death and asthma. In addition smoking is also associated with learning difficulties among children whose mothers smoke during pregnancy, which is yet another good reason why women who are pregnant should consider giving up. However, this can sometimes be quite difficult with many treatments including prescription product Champix are not suitable whilst pregnant meaning that any attempt to give up will require a significant amount of willpower.

Researchers at the University of the Nottingham have also proved that if women stop smoking before or during pregnancy, risks associated with smoking can be significantly reduced.

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