The harmful effects of smoking are not unknown. Turns out, for pregnant women, smoking even one cigarette a day can double the chance of sudden unexpected death of the baby.
As per a study published in the journal Pediatrics, which analysed over 20 million births, the risk of death rose by 0.07 for each additional cigarette smoked.
“Every cigarette counts and doctors should be having these conversations with their patients and saying, ‘Look, you should quit. That’s your best odds for decreasing sudden infant death. But if you can’t, every cigarette that you can reduce does help.’,” lead author Tatiana Anderson, a neuroscientist at the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, was quoted as saying by CNN.
The study analysed data on smoking during pregnancy from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s birth/infant death data set between 2007 and 2011. The data showed that the risk of SUID (Sudden unexpected infant death) more than doubled when the mother smoked during pregnancy, be it during any of the trimesters.
“If you smoke in the three months before pregnancy and quit by the end of the first trimester, you have more than a 50 per cent greater risk of SUID compared to nonsmokers,” Anderson also mentioned.
Smoking can affect the ovaries and the quality of the sperm. It can lower the quality of the egg, contributing to low birth weight of babies. An earlier study, published in the journal CHEST, had also shown how smoking during pregnancy can increase the risk of asthma and poor lung function in children.