A study by American researchers shows that an asthmatic baby exposed to smoking during pregnancy has more significant lung problems than a child with asthma who is exposed to smoking.
About one in five women continue to smoke in the third trimester of pregnancy, according to World Health Organization (WHO). This can have serious consequences for the child, such as breathing problems, heart problems, developmental delays, etc.
A study published on the Journal CHEST, carried out by American researchers, shows that when a mother smokes during her pregnancy, the damages on the lungs of the baby are more serious than when an older child is exposed to passive smoking.
2.5 times more risk of airway obstruction
To obtain these results, the researchers relied on data from a large national health and nutrition survey in the United States. It was conducted between 2007 and 2012 and collected information on 2070 children aged 6 to 11 years. In the questionnaire, the current exposure to passive smoking is indicated but also that which may have occurred during pregnancy.
Whether asthmatic or not, 10% of children have reduced lung function with passive smoking. But children with asthma who are exposed to cigarettes during pregnancy are 2.5 times more likely to have airway obstruction than children with asthma who are exposed to passive smoking as they grow up.
We must stop smoking during pregnancy
“Smoking during pregnancy may cause weakened lung function in children with asthma, and this effect could last a lifetime according to other studies,” says Dr. Whittaker Brown, one of the authors of this study.
Furthermore, smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of pregnancy-related complications: retro placental hematoma, inserted low placenta, intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR), premature rupture of membranes, sudden infant death. Tobacco would also be responsible for an increased frequency of haemorrhage from delivery and artificial delivery.
For the baby, the risk of fetal death in utero is mainly present in the third trimester of pregnancy and is related to IUGR and placental complications.
Smoking disrupts lung growth and leads to bronchial hyperactivity; bronchiolitis, pneumopathies, chronic coughs and asthma are more common in children of smoking moms. There are also repeat ORL infections. In addition, there is a small increased risk of childhood cancer and labio-palatal malformations.