Pregnancy and tobacco a 'smoking gun' for baby: Study

April 3, 2009,

Monash University researchers have shown that babies born to a mother who smokes are more likely to be slower to wake or respond to stimulation - and this may explain their increased risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

Scientific director of the Ritchie Centre for Baby Health Research Associate Professor Rosemary Horne and PhD student Heidi Richardson compared of who smoked both during the pregnancy and after the baby was born, with babies who lived in a smoke-free environment.

Professor Horne said the study suggested that maternal smoking can impair a baby's ability to respond to external stimuli, which may explain their increased risk of SIDS.

"Those babies whose mothers smoked did not have as many arousals overall and the progression of the arousal response through the brain was also impaired. Mothers who smoked while pregnant and continued to smoke afterward significantly increased their baby's chances of succumbing to SIDS," Professor Horne said.

Although the exact cause of SIDS is unknown, research suggests that an impairment of the arousal process from sleep in response to a life-threatening situation is involved. Autopsies of SIDS victims have revealed brainstem abnormalities in key areas that are required for arousal and cardio respiratory control.

The study involved 12 healthy, full-term born to mothers who smoked an average of 15 cigarettes per day. Their arousal responses during daytime sleep were monitored and compared with that of healthy infants who were born to non-smoking mothers.

The study was performed on each child on three occasions: at two to four weeks, two to three months and five to six months. Arousals were induced without compromising the infants' natural sleep cycles by delivering a pulsatile air-jet for five seconds at the infants' nostrils through a hand-held cannula.

Source: Monash University

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Teens likely to crave junk food after watching TV ads

January 15, 2018
Teenagers who watch more than three hours of commercial TV a day are more likely to eat hundreds of extra junk food snacks, according to a report by Cancer Research UK.

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

Your dishwasher is not as sterile as you think

January 13, 2018
(HealthDay)—Your dishwasher may get those plates spotless, but it is also probably teeming with bacteria and fungus, a new study suggests.

Study reveals what sleep talkers have to say

January 12, 2018
A team of researchers with members from several institutions in France has conducted a study regarding sleep talking and has found that most sleep talking is not only negative in nature, but involves a large amount of swearing. ...

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.