Smoking During Pregnancy Increases Risk of Premature Birth

Scientists have proven that women who smoke during pregnancy are 2.6 times more likely to give birth prematurely than non-smokers.

Effects of Smoking and Caffeine During Pregnancy

The British National Health Service recommends that pregnant women should not drink more than 200 mg of caffeine per day, the equivalent of two cups of instant coffee or tea. They should also quit smoking. This is because drinking large amounts of caffeine and smoking are associated with an increased risk of pregnancy complications, premature birth, and fetal growth restriction.

However, a new study from the University of Cambridge found no evidence that higher than average caffeine consumption during pregnancy is associated with premature birth or lower birth weight in babies. In contrast, the study found that women who smoked during pregnancy were about three times more likely to give birth prematurely compared to nonsmokers, more than double the previous estimate.

It has also been found that babies born to mothers who smoke are four times more likely to be smaller for their gestational age, putting them at risk of serious complications including difficulty breathing and infections. When toxins from smoking enter the baby’s bloodstream, they have difficulty receiving oxygen, which affects growth and is associated with premature birth and low birth weight. However, it is also associated with a lower risk of preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy).

Other Factors Affecting Pregnancy Outcomes

The new findings come after separate research from the University of Essex found that job loss for a pregnant woman or her partner was associated with an increased risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. The risk of miscarriage or stillbirth doubles after job loss, according to the study.

Previous studies examining the association between smoking, caffeine, and adverse pregnancy outcomes have generally relied on self-reported data to assess exposure, often at a single time point during pregnancy, which is not always reliable. In this study, scientists at the University of Cambridge examined smoking metabolites (cotinine) and caffeine (paraxanthine) in blood samples from more than 900 women participating in a pregnancy outcome prediction study between 2008 and 2012. Blood levels of cotinine and paraxanthine were analyzed at 12, 20, 28, and 36 weeks of pregnancy to identify women exposed to smoking and caffeine consumption during pregnancy.

Source: Metro

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Angela Lee was born in Korea and raised in Alabama. She graduated from Auburn University with a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Journalism.

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