Smoking during pregnancy increases risk of SIDS

Leslie Hanson
March 14, 2019

"The most important takeaway is for women to understand that quitting smoking before and during pregnancy by far results in the greatest reduction in the SUID risk".

Women smoking an average of between one and 20 cigarettes a day increase the odds by 0.07 with each cigarette smoked - but even women who smoked before their pregnancy saw an increased risk in their child dying from sudden unexpected infant death (SUID) - an unexplainable death of an otherwise healthy baby less than a year old.

Sudden unexpected infant death defined as (SUID).

They also found that there was a 23 percent decrease in the risk of SUID for women who completely quit smoking and a 12 percent decrease in risk for women who reduced the number of cigarettes they smoked by the third trimester. Of the 3,700 SUID deaths in the United States per year, researchers believe 800 could be prevented if no pregnant women smoked, per a press release.

Of the about 20 million live births included in their analysis, over 19,000 deaths were attributed to SUID with the specific cause of death occurring from SIDS, an ill-defined and unknown cause, or accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed.

For the research, the group utilized computational demonstrating procedures to dissect maternal cigarette smoking propensities for around 20 million births in the US.


Approximately 22 percent of SUID cases in the USA may be directly attributed to mothers smoking during pregnancy, researchers estimated.

Beyond overall cigarette consumption, the researchers also looked at how smoking before pregnancy, and cutting back or quitting smoking during pregnancy, affected SUID risk.

"Mothers who smoked in the three months before pregnancy and quit by the first trimester still had a almost 50 percent greater chance of a SUID death compared to nonsmokers", Anderson said by email.

"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 findings support public health efforts aimed at encouraging women to quit smoking long before pregnancy.

"But there are many studies that have associated postnatal smoke exposure with an increased risk of SIDS", Goodstein, who wasn't involved in the study, said by email. "In babies that have been smoke exposed, their wake up system does not trigger as soon as it should and we think this could be partly why these babies are more likely to die (of) SIDS".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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