More negative effects of smoking to pregnant moms and their babies have recently been discovered. Aside from low birth weight, preterm infant death, and overall health risks for the mother and unborn child, tobacco exposure has also been found to put the child’s health at risk.
According to the CDC, 40,000 babies are born each year in the U.S. with some type of congenital heart disease.
In the February 28 issue of the journal Pediatrics, a study shares that pregnant women who smoke during their first trimester put their unborn babies at higher risk for congenital heart disease by as much as 70 percent.
The study led by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found a connection between tobacco and heart defects, saying it prevents blood from flowing from the right side of the heart to the lungs and the upper chambers of the heart, a condition known as “right ventricular outflow tract obstructions”.
Given these study results, the lead researchers believe that stopping cigarette smoking before or during early pregnancy can prevent up to around 100 cases of these, and up to 700 cases of “atrial septal defects” from happening in the U.S. each year. Says CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., “Women who smoke and are thinking about becoming pregnant need to quit smoking and, if they’re already pregnant, they need to stop. Quitting is the single most important thing a woman can do to improve her health as well as the health of her baby.”
These findings also pose a reminder to Filipino moms-to-be to put a stop to their smoking and ward off any risks to their child’s overall health.
SOURCES: • Terry Martin. February 28, 2011. “Smoking Early in Pregnancy Raises Risk of Heart Defects in Infants” Quitsmoking.about.com • March 5, 2011. “Pregnant women risk heart defects in baby by smoking” DunyaNews.TV • Summer. March 3, 2011. “Smoking During Early Pregnancy Causes Heart Risk” GrowingYourBaby.com