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Daughters of smoking mothers are more likely to miscarry

July 16, 2017  16:47

Pregnant women shouldn't smoke if they eventually want to have grandchildren.

Girls exposed to tobacco while still growing in the womb are more likely to have a miscarriage, new research suggests.

The damaging effects of cigarettes in utero also heightens their chance of going on to give birth prematurely. 

Worryingly, the findings remained true even after taking into account the smoking habits of the 12,000 women involved in the study.

In stark contrast to previous evidence, the research found no link between exposure to cigarettes in the womb and a decrease in fertility.

Instead, it showed those who were born to smokers were more likely to conceive than those who avoided the notoriously bad habit. 

Widely known dangers 

The latest Aberdeen University data, published in in the Human Reproduction Open journal, reiterates the widely known dangers of smoking in expectant mothers.

More than ten per cent of British women smoke while pregnant and this figure is as high as 27 per cent in some northern cities such as Blackpool.

It is not illegal for a pregnant woman to harm her unborn child by smoking and drinking, but some think it should be.

Gross intervention 

Others say banning pregnant women from smoking would be a gross intervention by the 'nanny state' and a violation of the mother's free will as well as unenforceable. 

Dr Sohinee Bhattacharya, a pregnancy and childbirth researcher based at the institution, was behind the findings. 

Strong interest 

He said: 'There is a strong interest in whether our health and fertility can be affected by what happens when we are in the womb.

'Previous research has suggested that there may be a small decrease in the fertility of women whose mothers smoked in pregnancy.

'The study did not find a link between mothers' smoking and a decrease in fertility in their daughters.'

The reason 

He added: 'Women whose mothers smoked were more likely to have a pregnancy, but this study suggests that this could simply be linked to the fact that they were also more likely to get pregnant at an earlier age and could be related to socioeconomic status.

'Worryingly, the study did find a significant increase in the chances of having a miscarriage among the women whose mothers had smoked when pregnant with them.' 

But Dr Bhattacharya said more research is needed to confirm the link between fertility and exposure to cigarettes in the womb. 

NEWS.am Medicine

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