Maternal smoking is associated with delayed fetal development

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Women who smoke during the period before and after conceiving their baby are more likely to have a fetal developmental delay and to be born underweight, according to a new Dutch scientific study.

It is the first study to focus on the relationship between smoking up to 14 weeks before conception and 10 weeks after conception, and fetal development. The impact of fetal growth retardation appears to be greater during the second trimester of pregnancy.

The researchers, led by gynecologist Dr. Melek Rusian of the Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, published in the journal Human Reproduction of the European Society for Human Reproduction and Study, studied 689 women.

It was found that smoking before and after conception (over ten cigarettes) was associated with delayed fetal development by about one day compared to non-smokers, and by one and a half days if conceived by IVF. fertilization. Also, the fetuses of smoking mothers could not make up for the lost developmental time after pregnancy and thus were more likely to be born with low birth weight (on average 93 grams less than the babies of non-smoking women).

“The results of this study highlight the importance of quitting smoking before conception and efforts to quit smoking by women should focus on this time window. If possible, women should stop smoking as soon as they plan to become pregnant, although it is always a good thing to quit at any time, especially at any stage of pregnancy. Smoking not only affects the development of the fetus during pregnancy, as well as the weight of the baby at birth, but also the development of the fetus from the early stages of pregnancy. “The more cigarettes a woman smokes, the greater the developmental delay of the fetus,” said Rusian.

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