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HEART DEFECTS: Babies born to older moms who smoke at higher risk

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/5/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Study says smoking during early pregnancy could account for one, two percent of heart defects in newborns

Smoking during pregnancy has never been seen as beneficial to unborn children. A new study now says that babies born to women over 35 who smoke are at greater risk of having specific heart defects, suggests American research.

The study, from Seattle Children's Hospital, says that smoking during early pregnancy could account for one to two percent of all heart defects in babies.

The study, from Seattle Children's Hospital, says that smoking during early pregnancy could account for one to two percent of all heart defects in babies.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
5/5/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Heart defects, older moms, prenatal, smoking


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The report adds to the already existing evidence that smoking during pregnancy can damage babies' hearts. Smoking during pregnancy also increases the risk of miscarriage, small babies and premature birth.

The study, from Seattle Children's Hospital, says that smoking during early pregnancy could account for one to two percent of all heart defects in babies.

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Presented at a meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies in Vancouver, Canada, scientists from Seattle Children's Hospital and the University Of Washington School Of Public Health shared their results.

The team analyzed the hospital records of 14,128 children born with heart defects between 1989 and 2011. These figures were then compared to the records of more than 62,000 children born without heart defects in the same year.

They looked at the proportion of children with heart defects whose mothers said they smoked during pregnancy and the proportion of children without heart defects whose mothers smoked.

Babies of smoking mothers were more likely to have a congenital heart defect if their mothers smoked during pregnancy. The risk was highest in the heaviest smokers, who smoke more than 20 cigarettes a day.

Older women, aged over 35, were twice as likely to have a baby with a heart defect, if they smoked, compared to non-smoking pregnant women.

Problems with the valve and vessels that carry blood from the heart to the lungs and holes in the wall separating the two chambers of the heart were the most common heart defects found in newborns. Invasive surgery is required to correct these defects.

"Ongoing cigarette use during pregnancy is a serious problem that increases the risk of many adverse outcomes in newborns," Dr. Patrick Sullivan, lead study author and clinical fellow in pediatric cardiology at Seattle Children's Hospital, said.

"Our research provides strong support for the hypothesis that smoking while pregnant increases the risk of specific heart defects."

Dr. Sullivan said it was not completely clear how smoking damages babies' hearts during pregnancy but it is thought to be related to restricted oxygen flow to the heart.

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