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Smoking while pregnant increases baby's risk of heart disease


Smoking during pregnancy reduces the child’s protection against heart disease, a study has found.

Babies experience changes in the womb that result in them having lower levels of “good” cholesterol if their mothers smoke while carrying them.

The “good” cholesterol, known as high-density lipoprotein (HDL), offers protection against damage to arteries, and heart disease.

An opposite effect is caused by low-density lipoprotein (LDL) - the “bad” cholesterol.

Researchers discovered that blood levels of HDL were reduced by around 0.15 millimoles per litre (mmol/L) in eight-year-old children whose mothers smoked.

They believe that the fall is enough to cause a significant effect, leading to the risk of heart disease increasing by 10%-15%.

The arteries and cholesterol levels of 405 healthy eight-year-olds who were part of a trial studying asthma and allergies were looked at for the study.

Scientists collected data before the children were born and as they grew up, including information about mothers’ smoking habits before and after pregnancy.

They discovered that mothers’ smoking had an effect which remained significant after adjusting for a range of factors that might have influenced the results.

These included exposure to tobacco smoke after birth, duration of breastfeeding, sedentary lifestyle and body weight.





Readers' comments (4)

  • I think (and this is a personal view, not a professional one) anyone who smokes whilst pregnant should be done for abuse. It's a disgusting habit, and there is no excuse for this.

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  • I agree Mike, personally as well I think it is highly irresponsible. I was shocked at a nursing colleague smoking all through her three pregnancies and then again afterwards with a newborn baby hanging in a sling in front of her chest. Unforgivable!

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  • continued from above
    even without this knowledge, which my colleague and friend obviously did not have previously, what chance does smoking during pregnancy give to a child or even smoking in a baby's face?

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  • i totally agree. i hate it when i see parents (young and old) smoking while close to the babies............

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