Earlier puberty linked to mother's smoking during pregnancy

October 24, 2018, Aarhus University
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

If a mother smokes during pregnancy, there is a risk of her children starting puberty earlier. This is shown by a major study from Aarhus University, which has just been published in the international journal American Journal of Epidemiology.

"We found that of mothers who had smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day during pregnancy, on average entered three to six months earlier than the children of non-smokers," says Ph.D. student Nis Brix, who is one of the researchers behind the study.

The study is one of the largest puberty studies worldwide, and the results are based on the survey "Better health for generations" from the Statens Serum Institut in Denmark.

May lead to diseases later

A total of 15,819 pregnant and their children participated in the study. During pregnancy, the women were asked about their smoking habits. Then, the children were followed and filled in 83,810 questionnaires about their pubertal development from the age of eleven and every six months thereafter.

The researchers find early puberty worrisome.

"Early puberty can be associated with an increased risk of a number of diseases as an adult, such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and certain types of cancer," says Nis Brix. Together with his colleagues, he is working to identify the causes of puberty to be able to prevent it occurring.

"It is known that smoking is harmful to the unborn foetus. Smoking is, among other things, associated with an increased risk of low birth weight, premature birth and increased mortality. There are thus a wide range of other good reasons to give up smoking before . We hope that our results can be used as another motivating factor to stop among women who are planning on becoming pregnant," says Nis Brix.

Explore further: Painkillers during pregnancy lead to early puberty in girls

More information: Nis Brix et al, Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy and Timing of Puberty in Sons and Daughters: A Population-Based Cohort Study, American Journal of Epidemiology (2018). DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwy206

Related Stories

Painkillers during pregnancy lead to early puberty in girls

October 24, 2018
The more weeks a woman takes pain-reliving medication during pregnancy, the earlier their daughters enter puberty. This is shown by a new study from Aarhus University.

Age at which women experience their first period is linked to their sons' age at puberty

October 12, 2018
The age at which young women experience their first menstrual bleeding is linked to the age at which their sons start puberty, according to the largest study to investigate this association in both sons and daughters.

Overweight or smoking mums cause 'worrying changes' to unborn children's thyroid

October 23, 2018
Smoking or being overweight during pregnancy causes 'worrying changes' to the development of the unborn baby's thyroids, and could predispose them to disease after birth, according to a new study from the University of Aberdeen.

Exposure to smoking before and after birth linked to hearing impairment in toddlers

June 6, 2018
Exposure to tobacco smoke prenatally and postnatally was associated with hearing impairment in a Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology study of young children in Japan.

High gluten diet in pregnancy linked to increased risk of diabetes in children

September 19, 2018
A high gluten intake by mothers during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of their child developing type 1 diabetes, suggests a study published by The BMJ today.

Smoking while pregnant may compromise children's kidney function

December 22, 2016
In a new study, young children showed signs of kidney damage if their mothers smoked while pregnant. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), add ...

Recommended for you

A low-gluten, high-fiber diet may be healthier than gluten-free

November 16, 2018
When healthy people eat a low-gluten and fibre-rich diet compared with a high-gluten diet, they experience less intestinal discomfort including less bloating. Researchers at University of Copenhagen show that this is due ...

Youth dating violence shaped by parents' conflict-handling views, study finds

November 16, 2018
Parents who talk to their children about nonviolent ways of resolving conflict may reduce children's likelihood of physically or psychologically abusing their dating partners later—even when parents give contradictory messages ...

Why we shouldn't like coffee, but we do

November 15, 2018
Why do we like the bitter taste of coffee? Bitterness evolved as a natural warning system to protect the body from harmful substances. By evolutionary logic, we should want to spit it out.

Dietary fat is good? Dietary fat is bad? Coming to consensus

November 15, 2018
Which is better, a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet or a high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet—or is it the type of fat that matters? In a new paper featured on the cover of Science magazine's special issue on nutrition, researchers ...

Low-carb diets cause people to burn more calories

November 14, 2018
Most people regain the weight they lose from dieting within one or two years, in part because the body adapts by slowing metabolism and burning fewer calories. A meticulous study led by Boston Children's Hospital, in partnership ...

Human Cell Atlas study reveals maternal immune system modifications in early pregnancy

November 14, 2018
The first Human Cell Atlas study of early pregnancy in humans has shown how the function of the maternal immune system is affected by cells from the developing placenta. Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute, Newcastle ...

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.