Pregnant women who smoke, urged to give up before 15-week 'deadline'

Mar 26, 2009

Women who stop smoking before week 15 of pregnancy cut their risk of spontaneous premature birth and having small babies to the same as non-smokers, according to research published on bmj.com today.

Women who do not quit by 15 weeks, are three times more likely to give birth prematurely and twice as likely to have compared to who have stopped , say the researchers. The lead author, Dr Lesley McCowan at the University of Auckland, says that maternity care providers need to emphasise to women the major benefits of giving up smoking before 15 weeks in with the goal of becoming smoke free as early in pregnancy as possible.

While it is well established that smoking in pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, , small babies, stillbirth and neonatal death, say the authors, no study has yet determined whether stopping smoking in early pregnancy reduces the risks of small babies and premature births.

The authors surveyed over 2,500 participating in the SCOPE study in Australia and New Zealand at 15 weeks gestation. The participants were divided into three groups: non smoker, stopped smoker and current smoker. The 'stopped smoker' group all gave up before 15 weeks of pregnancy.

The results show that there were no differences between the rates of premature birth between stopped smokers and non-smokers, whereas current smokers had much higher risk. Similar results were revealed for expected baby size.

Another important finding was that women who stopped smoking were not more stressed than women who continued to smoke.

The smoking status of the participants also revealed social and health inequalities. Smokers were more likely to be single mothers, less well educated, unemployed, overweight or underweight. They were more likely to be drinking alcohol and less likely to be taking folic acid at 15 weeks of pregnancy.

In conclusion, the authors say that their "results are of considerable public health importance. The data suggest that the adverse effects of smoking on these late pregnancy outcomes may be largely reversible if smoking is ceased early in pregnancy, offering an important incentive for pregnant women who smoke to become smoke-free early in pregnancy."

Source: British Medical Journal (news : web)

Explore further: Brazil to study legalization of medical marijuana

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Exercise effective in helping pregnant women kick the habit

Sep 23, 2008

Exercise could be a useful tool in helping pregnant women to give up smoking, according to new research published today in the open access journal BMC Public Health. Despite the warnings, 17% of women in the UK and 20% of ...

Recommended for you

The hunt for botanicals

14 hours ago

Herbal medicine can be a double-edged sword and should be more rigorously investigated for both its beneficial and harmful effects, say researchers writing in a special supplement of Science.

Mozambique decriminalises abortion to stem maternal deaths

16 hours ago

Mozambique has passed a law permitting women to terminate unwanted pregnancies under specified conditions, a move hailed by activists in a country where clandestine abortions account for a large number of maternal deaths.

Infertility, surrogacy in India

16 hours ago

Infertility is a growing problem worldwide. A World Health Organization report estimates that 60-to-80 million couples worldwide currently suffer from infertility.

User comments : 0

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.