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Smoking during pregnancy may be linked to childhood obesity

Exposure to cigarette smoke is a well-known risk factor for adverse obstetrical outcomes and new research suggests it may also cause weight gain and childhood obesity.

Exposure to cigarette smoke is an avoidable risk factor for birth complications and adverse obstetrical outcomes, but its possible connection to childhood obesity and weight gain is unknown. To further investigate the impact of fetal smoke exposure to childhood health outcomes, researchers analyzed parental smoking during pregnancy and its relationship to PTB, small size and childhood obesity. Findings were recently published in PLoS Medicine.

In mothers who smoked only during the first trimester, adverse obstetrical outcomes did not occur and no adverse birth outcomes were found. However, research showed an increased risk of childhood obesity.

Continued smoking throughout pregnancy was linked to higher risks for PTB, childhood overweight, and small size for gestational age. Paternal smoking was also linked to an increased risk of childhood overweight, independent of maternal smoking.

For an in-depth look at the findings, visit Contemporary Pediatrics.