Smoking + asthma + pregnant = a dangerous combination

September 5, 2013

(Medical Xpress)—New research from the University of Adelaide has shown for the first time that pregnant women who smoke as well as having asthma are greatly increasing the risk of complications for themselves and their unborn children.

In the first study of its kind in the world, researchers from the University's Robinson Institute compared data from more than 170,000 South Australian women over 10 years.

The results have been published online ahead of print in the European Respiratory Journal.

Speaking during National Asthma Week, lead author Dr Nicolette Hodyl says: "We know that being pregnant and having asthma poses risks to both the mother and the baby. We know that smoking poses risks to both the mother and the baby. But now we also know that the combination of these conditions represents a very dangerous situation.

"Asthma and smoking are separately linked during pregnancy to increased risk of bleeding from the before labour, , of membranes, and preterm birth (less than 37 weeks of pregnancy).

"The combination of asthma and smoking greatly increases the risk of these complications during pregnancy."

Dr Hodyl says 5.8% of pregnant women who were not asthmatic and non-smokers experienced a preterm birth. "For asthmatic women, the preterm increased to 6.5%. Among , 9.4% experienced preterm birth. And for asthmatic women who also smoked, the rate of preterm birth jumped to 12.7%, which is more than double the normal rate.

"This is an alarming statistic. We hope that pregnant women begin to understand the seriousness of this situation to their health and the health of their child," she says.

Dr Hodyl says the research also uncovered another worrying statistic: about a quarter of pregnant women with asthma are smokers.

"While the rates of smoking have been decreasing in recent years, it is very concerning to us that many pregnant women with asthma are also smoking," she says.

"Quitting smoking during pregnancy is very difficult, and therefore pregnant women need as much support as possible from family, friends and health professionals. Our results show that even a reduction in the number of cigarettes women smoke per day can lead to some improvement to the risks to their child. However, the potential for poor health outcomes for both the mother and child should not be underestimated."

Explore further: Pregnant asthmatic women warned of health risks

More information: erj.ersjournals.com/gca?gca=er … B09031936.00054913v1

Related Stories

Pregnant asthmatic women warned of health risks

February 17, 2012
(Medical Xpress) -- Many pregnant women who suffer from asthma are putting their unborn child's health at risk by failing to use the right medication, according to a University of Adelaide researcher.

Open windows, lower risk for preterm birth: study

February 14, 2013
(HealthDay) —Opening the windows at home may help pregnant women reduce their risk for preterm birth or low birth weight, a new study indicates.

Working while pregnant won't harm the baby, study finds

March 25, 2013
(HealthDay)—Working during pregnancy does not increase a woman's risk of having a preterm or low birth-weight baby, a new study found.

Thyroid conditions raise risk of pregnancy complications

May 29, 2013
Pregnant women who have thyroid disorders face greater risk of preterm birth and other complications that have short- and long-term consequences for the health of mother and child, according to a recent study accepted for ...

Chlamydia and gonorrhoea infections linked to pregnancy complications

September 4, 2013
Becoming infected with chlamydia or gonorrhoea in the lead-up to, or during, pregnancy, increases the risk of complications, such as stillbirth or unplanned premature birth, indicates research published online in the journal ...

Smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of wheeze and asthma in preschool children

August 17, 2012
Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with wheeze and asthma inpreschool children, even among children who were not exposed to maternal smoking late inpregnancy or after birth, according to a new study.

Recommended for you

Newly deciphered vitamin D regulatory pathway opens doors to clinical research

August 21, 2017
Biochemists at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have deciphered the molecular mechanisms that underpin how the synthesis of the active form of vitamin D is regulated in the kidney, summing up decades of research in this ...

Clay-based antimicrobial packaging keeps food fresh

August 21, 2017
Sometimes it seems as if fresh fruits, vegetables and meats go bad in the blink of an eye. Consumers are left feeling frustrated, often turning to less expensive processed foods that last longer but are less nutritious. Now ...

Despite benefits, half of parents against later school start times

August 18, 2017
Leading pediatrics and sleep associations agree: Teens shouldn't start school so early.

Doctors exploring how to prescribe income security

August 18, 2017
Physicians at St. Michael's Hospital are studying how full-time income support workers hired by health-care clinics can help vulnerable patients or those living in poverty improve their finances and their health.

Schoolchildren who use e-cigarettes are more likely to try tobacco

August 17, 2017
Vaping - or the use of e-cigarettes - is widely accepted as a safer option for people who are already smoking.

Federal snack program does not yield expected impacts, researchers find

August 17, 2017
A well-intentioned government regulation designed to offer healthier options in school vending machines has failed to instill better snacking habits in a sample of schools in Appalachian Virginia, according to a study by ...

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.