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Smoking while pregnant - linked to 65 per cent likelihood of asthmatic children

Posted in: Women's Health 24 Aug, 2012

The constant stream of anti smoking information channelled through posters, cigarette packages and TV campaigns infiltrated into our daily lives is endless. Thus it is common knowledge that smoking while being pregnant has detrimental and far-reaching consequences to a woman’s unborn child. Yet still, many women whether through lack of restraint or simply failing to follow the doctors’ orders and warnings, continue to take up the habit while expecting.

According to the Daily Mail, a study’s reports have shown that children whose mothers smoked while pregnant are 65 per cent more likely to develop asthma. Furthermore the study revealed that harmful effects on an unborn baby could begin early, with women who smoked during the first three months of pregnancy having the leading negative impact.

Wheezing and children

A study of 21,600 children found the risk of wheezing and asthma dramatically increased for those exposed to maternal smoking during pregnancy. Wheezing has long been associated with conditions such as asthma, and has been highly known as a symptom that is associated with and brought upon by smoking. Wheezing is a high-pitched whistling sound that transpires when a person is breathing out. It occurs when the airways become more narrower than they should be.

Dr. Asa Neuman, of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, said: ‘These children were at increased risk for wheeze and asthma at preschool age.’

'Furthermore, the likelihood of developing wheeze and asthma increased in a significant dose-response pattern in relation to maternal cigarette consumption during the first three months of pregnancy.'

Shockingly the findings published online in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine follows previous research suggesting smoking while pregnant can change the structure of a child’s DNA, effectively weakening the immune system.

Interestingly, the risk rose even among children who were not exposed to maternal smoking late in pregnancy or after birth.

Effects of ‘lighting up’

The smoking history of those that smoked during their pregnancies and the information on the symptoms such as wheeze and asthma, were obtained via questionnaires that were sent throughout Europe.

The survey found that children aged four to six who were exposed to smoking in the womb were 39 per cent more likely to have the symptoms associated with wheeze and 65 per cent more likely to have asthma. Moreover, smoking in the early stages of pregnancy, but not the last three of the first year following birth was linked with increased risks for both conditions.

Dr Neuman said: 'Our large pooled analysis confirms maternal smoking during pregnancy, particularly during the first three months, is associated with a greater risk of offspring developing wheeze and asthma when they reach preschool age.’

Will this help?

But will these findings really deter pregnant women to refrain from smoking. I hope so. For some women who believe that the occasional cigarette will not harm their child, the study suggests otherwise. Findings showed that amongst the mothers who smoked only during pregnancy, many quit during the second or third trimester. However first-trimester smoking alone was linked to a doubling in a child's risk of developing asthma. These results therefore show that the early stages of a baby are the most vital in his or hers lung development and even smoking within the early stages of pregnancy proved to be a huge risk.

For young women and older women that are expecting, I hope the implications and the risks linked to pregnancy and smoking will be enough for them to quit this additive yet highly damaging habit.


  • LadermaThursday, Jul 18, 2013

    Your blog write pretty great, let a person feel very exciting. Main is to provide a lot of information we wanted. You're a great writer!

  • Kim BakerFriday, Aug 24, 2012

    I think it is wrong to smoke while you are pregnant, however, I know of some women who justify smoking the odd cigarette during their pregnancy, believing that it will do not harm to their unborn child :-(

  • VickiFriday, Aug 24, 2012

    65 per cent likelihood of a child getting asthma if a woman smokes during her pregnancy!- This article should be enough to deter women who do

  • Greta AllenFriday, Aug 24, 2012

    I am expecting and I have recently quit smoking, because of information such as this

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