Smoking and pregnancy: never too late to do well, study says

It’s never too late to do well for pregnant women who smoke, because every cigarette counts less.

In a new analysis conducted by the Seattle Children’s Hospital Research Institute and computer giant Microsoft, pregnant smokers who reduced their smoking before their third trimester of pregnancy also reduced their risk of having a syndrome. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) of 12 percent; among those who had completely quit smoking, the risk dropped by 23 percent.

“It’s extremely interesting because we feel very guilty about the parents who smoke, but we must not forget that it is not necessarily cast in the concrete ‘I smoked during the first trimester, my child will die'” said Dr. Aurore Côté, a physician at the Montreal Children’s Hospital who is a leader in SIDS.

“We can still do something. (…) So a study that tells us that it’s still worth it to stop, to reduce the exposure of the baby is important. ”

Researchers used computational modeling techniques to analyze maternal smoking in all live births in the United States between 2007 and 2011. More than 19,000 deaths, out of the estimated 20 million births examined, were attributed to the syndrome. Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The study also warns that a woman who smokes a single cigarette a day during pregnancy doubles the risk of her baby succumbing to SIDS. Each smoked cigarette would increase the risk of 7 percent among women who smoke between one and 20 per day.

Each cigarette more or less is important.

“All women who smoke should make efforts. Reduce is good, stop is better, has commented on the pediatrician Olivier Drouin, CHU Sainte-Justine. There is no safe level of smoking during pregnancy. What can motivate women is that every step forward is beneficial for their baby. ”

If no women smoked during pregnancy, the authors calculate that about 800 of the 3,700 deaths attributed to SIDS each year in the United States would be avoided, which would lower the current SIDS rate by 22 percent.

Dr. Côté, who has been studying SIDS for over 30 years, believes that the new study “gives some hope to moms who smoke and realize they are pregnant.”

But there is still a lot of educational work to do.

“It’s amazing how anchored it is,” she said of mothers who believe that smoke is safe for their baby since it does not enter their lungs. People do not realize that there are many byproducts of cigarettes that go into the mother’s blood, and therefore into the baby’s blood. If we reduce the exposure, we reduce that. It’s not the smoke that goes into the lungs, of course, but unfortunately this little chicken is not protected. ”

Health Canada calculates that between 20 and 30 percent of pregnant women smoke during pregnancy. The federal agency warns that “the risk of SIDS is higher in babies whose mothers have smoked during pregnancy and who are exposed to second-hand smoke. The risk of SIDS increases with the number of smokers in the household, the number of cigarettes smoked and the proximity of the smoker (s) to the baby.

Health Canada explains that “some of the chemicals found in tobacco smoke affect the development of the baby’s brain and lungs, which affects the baby’s breathing and can cause SIDS.”

The findings of this study are published by the medical journal Pediatrics.

Share Button