Deformed limbs linked to smoking in pregnancy
Missing or deformed limbs, clubfoot, facial disorders and gastrointestinal problems are some of the most common birth defects found to be associated with smoking during pregnancy, according to a major new report led by scientists at UCL.
Despite public health advice which warns of the harms of maternal smoking, such as miscarriage and premature birth, in the UK 45% of women under 20 and 17% overall still smoke during pregnancy, according to the national figures (Office for National Statistics 2006). In the USA, 20% of women aged under 25 years smoke during pregnancy, compared to 9% among those aged over 35.
The authors examined a total of 172 research papers published over the last 50 years, which looked at a combined total of 174,000 cases of malformation alongside 11.7 million controls. The risk was increased by 26% for having a baby with missing or deformed limbs, 28% for clubfoot, 27% for gastrointestinal defects, 33% for skull defects, 25% for eye defects, and 28% for cleft lip/palate. The greatest increase in risk (50%) was for a condition called gastroschisis, where parts of the stomach or intestines protrude through the skin.
The research authors recommend that public health guidance should now be more explicit about the specific malformations associated with maternal smoking, in order to try and reduce the numbers of pregnant women who smoke.
Lead author Professor Allan Hackshaw, UCL Cancer Institute and member of the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group, said: "People may think that few women still smoke when pregnant. But the reality is that, particularly in women under 20, the numbers are still staggeringly high.
"Maternal smoking during pregnancy is a well established risk factor for miscarriage, low birthweight and premature birth. However, very few public health educational policies mention birth defects when referring to smoking and those that do are not very specific this is largely because of past uncertainty over which ones are directly linked.
"Now we have this evidence, advice should be more explicit about the kinds of serious defects such as deformed limbs, and facial and gastrointestinal malformations that babies of mothers who smoke during pregnancy could suffer from. The message from this research is that women should quit smoking before becoming pregnant, or very early on, to reduce the chance of having a baby with a serious and lifelong physical defect."
Co-author, Professor Charles Rodeck, UCL Institute for Women's Health, added: "The results of this research are of the greatest significance for the health of mothers and babies and for public health policy. If the recommendations are implemented, they will lead to a reduction in the incidence of several common malformations, and also to greater efficacy of smoking prevention programmes, as the warning of a birth defect adds weight to that of a small or premature baby".
More information: 'Maternal smoking in pregnancy and birth defects: a systematic review based on 173 687 malformed cases and 11.7 million controls' is published in Human Reproduction online ahead of print.
Provided by University College London
- Maternal obesity prior to pregnancy associated with birth defects Aug 06, 2007 | not rated yet | 0
- Pregnant women who smoke, urged to give up before 15-week 'deadline' Mar 26, 2009 | not rated yet | 0
- Passive smoking increases risk to unborn babies, study says Mar 09, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- First trimester smoking linked to oral clefts Dec 18, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- Giving up smoking averts the adverse birth outcomes associated with tobacco Jul 06, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
The individualisation of drug treatments to support patients to self-manage their conditions is a concept that sits at the heart of policy, but a recent study in BMJ Open shows that there is no concrete defini ...
Health 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Fun in the summer often means kids spending time in the water, whether at a pool, the beach, a lake or river. A pediatric safety expert at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) stresses proper training ...
Health 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A new way of interpreting information from a low-tech, age-old method used in pregnancy care is expected to more accurately identify potential health issues for mothers and babies.
Health 3 hours ago | not rated yet | 1
Artemio Martinez balanced his corpulent frame on a stool in a Mexico City street taco stand, downing a sweet soda and eating a final pork-filled corn tortilla.
Health 5 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
People eating at fast food restaurants largely underestimate the calorie content of meals, especially large ones, according to a paper published today in BMJ.
Health 16 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(Medical Xpress)—A new study by researchers in the US has shown that an ancient virus can be modified to help in the fight against the simian immunodeficiency virus SIV, which is the equivalent in monkeys ...
2 hours ago | 5 / 5 (3) | 0 |
(Medical Xpress)—Regulating the distribution of power in neurons is done by a system that makes the national electric grid look simple by comparison. Each neuron has several thousand mitochondria confined ...
17 hours ago | 4.9 / 5 (7) | 0 |
New research presented today shows that formation of new neurons in the hippocampus - a brain region known for its importance in learning and remembering - could cause forgetting of old memories by causing a reorganization ...
1 hour ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0
Ernie Pyle – an iconic war correspondent in World War II – reportedly said "There are no atheists in foxholes." A new joint study between two brothers at Cornell and Virginia Wesleyan found that only ...
1 hour ago | 3 / 5 (1) | 0
Researchers from London's Kingston University have begun a two-year study which could help prolong the lives of people with colorectal tumours.
2 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0