Pregnant women who smoke, urged to give up before 15-week 'deadline'

March 26, 2009

Women who stop smoking before week 15 of pregnancy cut their risk of spontaneous premature birth and having small babies to the same as non-smokers, according to research published on bmj.com today.

Women who do not quit by 15 weeks, are three times more likely to give birth prematurely and twice as likely to have compared to who have stopped , say the researchers. The lead author, Dr Lesley McCowan at the University of Auckland, says that maternity care providers need to emphasise to women the major benefits of giving up smoking before 15 weeks in with the goal of becoming smoke free as early in pregnancy as possible.

While it is well established that smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, , small babies, stillbirth and neonatal death, say the authors, no study has yet determined whether stopping smoking in early pregnancy reduces the risks of small babies and premature births.

The authors surveyed over 2,500 participating in the SCOPE study in Australia and New Zealand at 15 weeks gestation. The participants were divided into three groups: non smoker, stopped smoker and current smoker. The 'stopped smoker' group all gave up before 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The results show that there were no differences between the rates of premature birth between stopped smokers and non-smokers, whereas current smokers had much higher risk. Similar results were revealed for expected baby size.

Another important finding was that women who stopped smoking were not more stressed than women who continued to smoke.

The smoking status of the participants also revealed social and health inequalities. Smokers were more likely to be single mothers, less well educated, unemployed, overweight or underweight. They were more likely to be drinking alcohol and less likely to be taking folic acid at 15 weeks of pregnancy.

In conclusion, the authors say that their "results are of considerable public health importance. The data suggest that the adverse effects of smoking on these late pregnancy outcomes may be largely reversible if smoking is ceased early in pregnancy, offering an important incentive for pregnant women who smoke to become smoke-free early in pregnancy."

Source: British Medical Journal (news : web)

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Poor sleep could lead to heavier drinking in young adults, study finds

December 8, 2017
A shortened night of sleep may increase young adults' risk of heavier drinking, according to a new Yale study that assessed reciprocal variations in sleep and drinking over time in young adults.

Researchers say nutritional labeling for sodium doesn't work

December 8, 2017
Potato chips, frozen pizza, a fast food hamburger-these foods are popular in the American diet and saturated with sodium. Though eating too much can lead to high blood pressure and heart disease, 90 percent of Americans eat ...

Observation care may save more than thought

December 8, 2017
In the world of health care spending policy, it usually works that as Medicare goes so goes private insurance on matters of managing the cost and quality of care.

Screen time before bed linked with less sleep, higher BMIs in kids

December 7, 2017
It may be tempting to let your kids stay up late playing games on their smartphones, but using digital devices before bed may contribute to sleep and nutrition problems in children, according to Penn State College of Medicine ...

Mindful yoga can reduce risky behaviors in troubled youth, says research

December 7, 2017
For some young people, dealing with life stressors like exposure to violence and family disruption often means turning to negative, risky behaviors—yet little is known about what can intervene to stop this cycle.

Teen girls 'bombarded and confused' by sexting requests: study

December 7, 2017
Adolescent women feel intense pressure to send sexual images to men, but they lack the tools to cope with their concerns and the potential consequences, according to new Northwestern University research published Wednesday, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.