If you are planning to get pregnant, or already are pregnant, you know that one of the most important things you can do for your child is to quit smoking. For a while now, doctors have been warning that smoking during pregnancy is likely to increase the risk of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). But now, a new study provides the most direct evidence yet.
The new study, reported on by Science Daily, appears in the first issue for June of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, a publication of the American Thoracic Society.
“Our results provide some of the most direct evidence to date suggesting that prenatal cigarette smoke exposure can contribute to the destabilizing effects of hypoxia [inadequate oxygenation of the blood] and thermal stress on neonatal breathing,” said Dr. Hasan.
That the effects of second-hand cigarette smoke are damaging is well known. But according to this study, the effects were much more pronounced when a fetus was exposed to cigarette smoked prenatally.
“Our results show that prenatal cigarette smoke exposure compounds the risk by increasing the likelihood of gasp-like respiration and prolonging the time that it takes for neonates to return to normal breathing following hypoxia,” said Dr. Hasan. “These observations provide important evidence of how prenatal cigarette smoke exposure, hypoxic episodes and hyperthermia might place infants at higher risk for SIDS and further support efforts to foster prenatal smoking cessation programs.”
To read the details of this study, please refer to Science Daily: Smoking During Pregnancy Increases Risk of SIDS.