If the overwhelming evidence linking cigarette smoking to
poor health hasn't convinced you to quit, perhaps recent research
may help you consider the health of your child before taking
a smoke during pregnancy. Consider a study that appeared in
the October 1999 issue of Pediatrics (www.pediatrics.org).
utilized four questionnaires (two administered to the mothers
of 1,974 children at 16 weeks' gestation, a third at 30 weeks,
and the fourth at eight months postpartum) to gather data
on the potential relationship between maternal smoking and
hospitalization of the child during the first months of life.
Children whose mothers smoked 15 or more cigarettes per
day (about 3/4ths of a pack) during pregnancy were twice as
likely to be hospitalized during their first eight months
of life, compared with children whose mothers refrained from
smoking during pregnancy. Common reasons for hospitalization
included respiratory, gastrointestinal and skin problems,
and this risk associated with smoking was independent of the
father's smoking habits or the child's gender.
Over the past two years, we've reported the results of numerous
studies on the detrimental effects of smoking. If you're a
former smoker who's managed to quit, or if you've always been
a nonsmoker, bravo! You'll be healthier for it. If you're
a current smoker who'd like to quit but can't seem to break
the habit, your doctor can give you information on the most
effective method for you.
Wisborg K, Henriksen TB, Obel C, et al. Smoking during pregnancy
and hospitalization of the child. Pediatrics (online
version), Oct. 1999: Vol. 104, No. 4, ppe46.