Smoking in pregnancy linked to asthma and obesity

Studies show increased risk of asthma and teen obesity for babies exposed to smoke in the womb

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Research has found babies born to mums who smoke in pregnancy suffer higher rates of asthma and teen obesity.

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As well as suffering a higher likelihood of low birth weight and infant death syndrome, babies born to women who smoke while pregnant are six times more likely to suffer from asthma than those born to non-smokers, report the Montreal Gazette. A Swedish study claimed this was partially related to the babies’ low birth weights, something that is known impact on asthma development.

The paper also reports a Canadian study into obesity that has found teenagers born to non-smoking mums had 26% less body fat than those whose mothers smoked throughout their pregnancy.

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“We believe that maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy plays and important role in the fetal programming of obesity” said Zdenka Pausova, one of the lead researchers. Studies using animals have shown that nicotine affects brain functions that control eating impulses and energy metabolism.

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