Marty Gold
Marty Gold

9:56 PM - Oct 31, 2001 #11

On the subject of pregnancy, I just heard a headline on the radio this morning (in the UK) that new medical research shows that smoking has a contraceptive effect. In the study, smoking women took on average two months longer to conceive than non-smokers. If I read any more detailed info, I'll post it.


10:49 PM - Oct 31, 2001 #12

Hello Marty:

This is not a new revelation. Here is a Fact Sheet produced by ASH in the United Kingdom. (Your hometown )


July 2001



Cigarette smoking can affect women's fertility; men's fertility; sexual function in men; pregnant women's health; the health of an unborn child; and the health of young children.


Women who smoke may have reduced fertility. One study found that 38% of non-smokers conceived in their first cycle compared with 28% of smokers. Smokers were 3.4 times more likely than non-smokers to have taken more than one year to conceive. It was estimated that the fertility of smoking women was 72% that of non-smokers.[1] A recent British study found that both active and passive smoking was associated with delayed conception.[2] Cigarette smoking may also affect male fertility: spermatozoa from smokers has been found to be decreased in density and motility compared with that of non-smokers.[3]

Male sexual impotence

Impotence, or penile erectile dysfuntion, is the repeated inability to have or maintain an erection. One US study of men between the ages of 31 and 49 showed a 50% increase in the risk of impotence among smokers compared with men who had never smoked.[4] Another US study, of patients attending an impotence clinic, found that the number of current and ex-smokers (81%) was significantly higher than would be expected in the general population (58%).[5]

Overall smoking increases the risk of impotence by around 50% for men in their 30s and 40s. ASH and the British Medical Association have calculated that around 120,000 UK men in this age group are needlessly impotent as a result of smoking.[6]

Smoking and oral contraceptives

For younger women, smoking and the use of oral contraceptives increases the risk of a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular disease by tenfold. This effect is even more marked in women over 45.[7] It is therefore important that all women who take the contraceptive pill be advised not to smoke.

Smoking and pregnancy

Approximately one-quarter of pregnant women in the UK smoke. Women who smoke in pregnancy are more likely to be younger, single, of lower educational achievement and in unskilled occupations. The male partner is more likely to smoke. Only one in four women who smoke succeed in stopping at some time during pregnancy. Almost two-thirds of women who succeed in stopping smoking in pregnancy restart again after the birth of their baby.[8] In December 1998, the Government set a target to reduce the percentage of women who smoked during pregnancy from 23% to 15% by the year 2010, with a fall to 18% by 2005.[9] This will mean approximately 55,000 fewer women in England who smoke during pregnancy.

Foetal growth and birth weight

Babies born to women who smoke are on average 200 grams (8 ozs) lighter than babies born to comparable non-smoking mothers. Furthermore, the more cigarettes a woman smokes during pregnancy, the greater the probable reduction in birth weight. Low birth weight is associated with higher risks of death and disease in infancy and early childhood. The adverse effects of smoking in pregnancy are due mainly to smoking in the second and third trimesters. Therefore, if a woman stops smoking within the first three months of pregnancy, her risk of having a low‑weight baby will be similar to that of a non-smoker. 8

Spontaneous abortion

The rate of spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) is substantially higher in women who smoke. This is the case even when other factors have been taken into account.8

Other complications of pregnancy

On average, smokers have more complications of pregnancy and labour which can include bleeding during pregnancy, premature detachment of the placenta and premature rupture of the membranes.[10] Some studies have also revealed a link between smoking and ectopic pregnancy 10 and congenital defects in the offspring of smokers.[11]

Perinatal mortality

Perinatal mortality (defined as still‑birth or death of an infant within the first week of life) is increased by about one-third in babies of smokers. This is equivalent to approximately 420 deaths per year in England and Wales. The increased perinatal mortality in smoking mothers occurs particularly among manual socio-economic groups and in groups that are already at high risk of perinatal death, such as older mothers or those who have had a previous perinatal death. More than one-quarter of the risk of death due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death) is attributable to maternal smoking (equivalent to 365 deaths per year in England and Wales).8

Passive smoking and pregnancy

Exposure by the mother to passive smoking has also been associated with lower birth weight, a higher risk of perinatal mortality and spontaneous abortion.[12]

Breast feeding

Research has shown that smoking cigarettes may contribute to inadequate breast milk production. In one study, fat concentrations were found to be lower in the milk from mothers who smoked and milk volumes were lower.[13]

Health and long‑term growth

Infants of parents who smoke are twice as likely to suffer from serious respiratory infection than the children of non-smokers. (See also Fact Sheet No. 8, Passive Smoking.) Smoking in pregnancy may also have implications for the long term physical growth and intellectual development of the child. It has been associated with a reduced height of children of smoking mothers as compared with non-smoking mothers, with lower attainments in reading and mathematics up to age 16 and even with the highest qualification achieved by the age of 23.[14] One study has demonstrated a link between maternal smoking during pregnancy and adult male crime.[15] There is also evidence that smoking interferes with women's hormonal balance during pregnancy and that this may have long-term consequences on the reproductive organs of her children.[16]

Smoking and cervical cancer

Epidemiological studies have found that women who smoke have up to four times higher risk of developing cervical cancer than non-smokers and that the risk increases with duration of smoking. Studies have demonstrated biochemical evidence that smoking is a causal factor in cervical cancer.[17][18]

Smoking and the menopause

The natural menopause occurs up to two years earlier in smokers. The likelihood of an earlier menopause is related to the number of cigarettes smoked, with those smoking more than ten cigarettes a day having an increased risk of an early menopause.[19] New research suggests that polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons found in tobacco smoke can trigger premature egg cell death which may in turn lead to earlier menopause. [20]

John Gold
John Gold

12:57 AM - Dec 10, 2001 #13

Mothers who smoke may be
hearing from colicky babies

Ronald Kotulak and Jon Van
Chicago Tribune
Published December 9, 2001

One way to reduce the risk of having a colicky baby is not to smoke during pregnancy.

When Danish researchers at Aarhus University Hospital studied 1,820 women and their newborns, they found that women who smoked 15 or more cigarettes per day during pregnancy were twice as likely to have a colicky baby than mothers who didn't smoke.

About 1 of 10 infants are colicky at birth, a condition marked by excessive crying that usually subsides by the age of 3 or 4 months.

Prenatal smoking is known to inhibit fetal growth, and it may be that it promotes colic by delaying the development of the central nervous system, Dr. Charlotte Sendergaard reported in Pediatrics, a journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

John Gold
John Gold

7:37 PM - Dec 20, 2001 #14

Vol. 300, Issue 1, 124-133, January 2002

John Gold
John Gold

9:12 PM - Jul 05, 2002 #15

Nicotinic receptor expression following nicotine exposure via maternal milk.

Narayanan U, Birru S, Vaglenova J, Breese CR.

Neuroreport 2002 May 24;13(7):961-3 ... t=Abstract

Department of Pharmacal Sciences, Auburn University, Harrison School of Pharmacy, 401 Walker Building, Auburn, AL 36849, USA.

Studies have shown nicotine is excreted into maternal milk, so that suckling offspring would be a target of the drug during the pre-weaning period. Since nicotine exposure leads to an upregulation of neuronal nicotinic receptors, this study examines the hypothesis that nicotine delivered via maternal milk is capable of altering neuronal nicotinic receptor regulation in the drug-exposed rat pups. The present study showed that postnatal nicotine exposure via maternal milk was sufficient to induce an upregulation in brain nicotinic receptors similar to that seen in adults that smoke. Such exposure may result in altered neuronal development and synaptic activity and structure, potentially leading to long-term behavioral, learning, and memory deficits.

PMID: 12004199 [PubMed - in process]

John Gold
John Gold

11:29 PM - Jul 13, 2002 #16

Fetal Nicotine Exposure Tied to Breathing Problems
Fri Jul 12, 1:35 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Nicotine exposure in the womb, even in the absence of other substances present in tobacco smoke, may lead to breathing difficulties in newborns, results of an animal study suggest.
The findings indicate that nicotine can have lasting harmful effects on developing fetal lungs, according to Dr. Hakan Sundell and colleagues of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in Nashville, Tennessee.
"The issue is of clinical significance, because nicotine replacement for pregnant women is often regarded as a safe alternative in smoking cessation programs," they write in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
The study involved a group of lambs that were exposed during their last trimester in the womb to nicotine through pumps that had been implanted in their mothers. The level of nicotine was equivalent to what a human fetus would be exposed to if a pregnant woman smoked mildly to moderately, the report indicates. A second group of lambs was not exposed to nicotine.
For a 5-week period after the lambs were born, various lung function tests showed that the animals exposed to nicotine in the womb had faster and more shallow breathing than those that had not been subjected to nicotine, according to the report.
"Prenatal nicotine exposure appears to have long-term effects on the postnatal breathing pattern, suggesting altered lung function," Sundell and colleagues write. "These changes are most marked close to birth but persist during the initial postnatal period."
Nicotine easily passes through the human placenta to a developing fetus, the researchers point out. And concentrations of nicotine in the fetus can be equal to or higher than in the mother, they add.
SOURCE: American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine 2002;166:92-97.
Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

John Gold
John Gold

11:34 PM - Jul 13, 2002 #17

American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine
Vol 166. pp. 92-97, (2002)
© 2002
American Thoracic Society

John Gold
John Gold

7:56 PM - Jul 30, 2002 #18

N.Y. Post

July 29, 2002 --- If you're pregnant and still hooked on cigarettes, here's another reason to quit - smoking may increase your baby's risk of developing autism.

Researchers at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden found that pregnant women who smoke regularly are 40 percent more likely to have autistic kids.

The study of 2,000 kids and their mothers found that smoking appears to restrict growth in the womb, contributing to the condition.

Dr. Christina Hultman said similar research on animals revealed that exposure to nicotine while in the womb has physical and behavioral effects that leads to problems with brain function.

Autism is a developmental disability that affects the way a person communicates and interacts with other people.

People with autism cannot relate to others in a meaningful way, and they also have trouble making sense of the world at large.

As a result, their ability to develop friendships is impaired and they have a limited capacity to understand other people's feelings. Autism is also often also associated with learning disabilities.

Smoking during pregnancy has also been linked to other problems in kids, including stunted growth and respiratory problems.

Pregnant women who smoke are urged immediately to contact their doctor to get on a cessation program.
Copyright 2002 NYP Holdings, Inc. All rights reserved.

John Gold
John Gold

7:49 AM - Sep 04, 2002 #19

Study Suggests Why Cigarette Smoke a SIDS Risk
Tuesday Sep 3, 2002
BERLIN (Reuters Health) - Italian researchers have found a possible explanation for why exposure to cigarette smoke during pregnancy may increase a baby's risk of sudden infant death syndrome or SIDS.

In a study presented here at the European Society of Cardiology annual conference, Professor Alessandro Mugelli from the University of Florence and colleagues found that exposing rats to carbon monoxide, a component of cigarette smoke, can interfere with the maturation of heart cells in the developing fetus.

"We found that there is an alteration which may explain the link between smoking and SIDS, so the message is, don't smoke if you are pregnant, and don't smoke in a room where there is a baby," Mugelli said.

The researchers exposed pregnant rats to carbon monoxide at a concentration of 150 parts per million, which simulates the levels experienced by a cigarette smoker.

The exposure delayed the maturation of some properties in heart cells that affect the QT interval. The QT interval is one portion of an electrocardiogram, or ECG, the tracing of the heart's electrical activity.

Babies who have a long QT interval have a higher risk of irregular heartbeats, and this may predispose these newborns to sudden death, Mugelli said.

"We knew that smoking is a risk-factor for SIDS, but we didn't know the mechanism," Mugelli told Reuters Health.

SIDS is the most common cause of death among newborns, Mugelli said. Placing a baby on his or her stomach rather than the back to sleep can greatly increase the risk of SIDS. Overheated rooms, secondhand smoke and fluffy bedding are also a risk.
Copyright © 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

OBob Gold
OBob Gold

4:45 AM - Sep 05, 2002 #20

A question:

Have there been any studies on nicotine in mother's milk? Several months ago, we had a conversation about how quickly we became addicted, and tried to informally relate that to whether or not our mothers smoked. Reading another post here, it occurred to me that perhaps nicotine could (?) be transferred through breast milk, and that perhaps children of mothers who smoke become more susceptible to rapid addiction than others because of this?

Just curious if any studies exist.


Changingmyname SILVER
Changingmyname SILVER

5:07 AM - Sep 05, 2002 #21

Mmmmm, Bob, being a nursing mother I've researched this as much as I could (at first to justify continuing smoking, and then to educate myself and motivate myself to quit) and there have been some studies on breastmilk and smoking, but I think I've only seen one long-term study done to show how easily a child is addicted later in life. There are some real problems with all of the variables; the level of consumption, the exposure of the infant to second-hand smoke (whether in the air or on clothes), smoking in pregnancy, and the constantly changing nature of breastmilk. I know Le Leche League states that a consumption of 15 per day is fine, and this is based on not smoking AROUND your child. However, so many studies don't take into consideration whether or not the mother DOES smoke outside or not.

Anyway, you're aware of all this already, I'm sure, but I'm I allowed to post links to outside sites here?

Changingmyname SILVER
Changingmyname SILVER

5:08 AM - Sep 05, 2002 #22

That last is from me, Theresa. I realized I wanted my screen name to be a bit more annonymous.

Theresa, 11 days strong!

OBob Gold
OBob Gold

5:22 AM - Sep 05, 2002 #23

I copied this from the Courtesies thread. You might email the managers to double check whether or not you can post a specific link.

SOLICITING or SPAMMING - Both practices are prohibited. If you'd like to post an external link that will encourage our members to visit a site outside the confines of, please clear it through any Freedom Manager first. Thanks!

Changingmyname SILVER
Changingmyname SILVER

6:19 AM - Sep 05, 2002 #24

Thanks, Bob, I did send off an email. By the way, in all my 'just quit' babbling (I find I babble far more these days) I forgot to mention that the one study I saw showed higher levels of addiction, but of course could not say whether or not it is due to the modeling involved rather than the activation of a physical trigger. I'm going to pull out my physiology book tonight to take a look :-)



12:20 AM - Sep 30, 2002 #25

For Tulip:

You had mentioned that you didn't exactly count your quits when being pregnant as being real quits. In a sense it is true. The quits were real and were a benefit to your children, but they were not quits that were destined to last if you worked on the basis that you were quitting mainly for your children's benefit or as I think you realized, that you quit smoking at those times because cigarettes became aversive to you while you were pregnant. While pregnancy may be the impetus for some women starting a quit, more ammunition needs to be developed and worked on for these women to sustain their quits. Long-term abstinences is going to require that the ex-smoker is truly sustaining his or her quit for himself or herself. You are the primary benefactor of your quit and to keep the benefits is as simple as always remembering to never take another puff!



8:07 PM - Oct 03, 2002 #26

For MSF:

You will see from the post above, there are women who just seem to lose interest in smoking when pregnant. It is interesting because some of these women lose all desire for cigarettes before they actually even knew they were pregnant, as if their bodies just knew not to smoke. Unfortunately, if these same women do not work on establishing good reasons to stay off of smoking, they often relapse shortly after delivery. Back in the days when smoking was allowed in hospitals, some of these women relapsed almost instantly. I used to joke about it in clinics, to illustrate how strong the desire would be to these women I would say that they almost asked for a cigarette before they would ask what was the sex of the baby. Many women in my groups nodded and said they knew exactly what I was saying from their past experiences.

So as I said to Tulip up above, while pregnancy may be the impetus for some women starting a quit, more ammunition needs to be developed and worked on for these women to sustain their quits. Long-term abstinences is going to require that the ex-smoker is truly sustaining his or her quit for himself or herself. You are the primary benefactor of your quit and to keep the benefits is as simple as always remembering to never take another puff!

John Gold
John Gold

3:35 AM - Nov 16, 2002 #27

Dangers of smoking while pregnant need
to be emphasized by health care providers
The Daily Telegram
Last Updated: Friday, November 15th, 2002 10:57:46 AM
It's bad enough that many pregnant women in Wisconsin would risk the health of their newborns by smoking. But a recent survey raises troubling questions about whether doctors and other health care providers are doing enough to get these women to stop.

A survey released this week by the Center for Tobacco Research and Intervention at the University of Wisconsin Medical School offers some chilling numbers: 48 percent of women smokers said they continued to smoke after learning they were pregnant, and that's hardly improved since the 1960s when the number was 52 percent. The 2000-2001 survey found that 31 percent said they were able to stop for at least a week, compared with 10 percent who quit at least that long during the 1960s. While there's been some improvement over the years, the problem is continued smoking - pregnancies last much longer than a week or so.

This is a major health issue that requires an active role from doctors. Instead, the center's research found that 88 percent of doctors and other health providers asked pregnant patients about smoking, and 78 that percent advised their patients to quit. That begs the question, why aren't the other doctors raising the issue? And why did only 78 percent urge these pregnant smokers to quit? Not pushing the issue is irresponsible and failing the patients and their unborn babies.

Smoking during pregnancy is serious because it raises the risk of premature birth, sudden infant death syndrome and lower birth rate, and also causes a higher rate of infant deaths. Yet the survey of state residents showed that only 20 percent of pregnant smokers over the past 10 years were encouraged to set a date for quitting; and only one in 10 were offered referral to smoking-cessation programs.

To be fair, it's likely that many doctors do talk to pregnant smokers about the risks. And it probably doesn't take a lot of face-to-face office time to emphasize the need to quit and to offer suggestions on how to get help. Because people generally look up to their doctors, doctors can influence their patients if they take the time. Education ought to be an essential part of care for the mother and child, whether it concerns nutrition or dangerous behavior such as drinking and smoking.

According to Dr. Michael Fiore, director of the center, "The health effects for both the woman and her baby are extraordinary. We know that benefits begin literally the day of quitting."

John Gold
John Gold

11:34 PM - Nov 22, 2002 #28

A reexamination of smoking
before, during, and after pregnacy

Source: American Journal of Public Health
Publication date: 2002-11-01
Arrival time: 2002-11-20

Objectives. This study examined the patterns and correlates of maternal smoking before, during, and after pregnancy.
Methods. We examined socioeconomic, demographic, and clinical risk factors associated with maternal smoking in a nationally representative cohort of women (n = 8285) who were surveyed 175 months and again 355 months after delivery.

Results. Smoking rates among women with a college degree decreased 30% from before pregnancy to 35 months postpartum but did not change among the least educated women. Risk factors clustered, and a gradient linked the number of risk factors (0, 2, 4) to the percentage smoking (6%, 31%, 58%, P<.0001).

Conclusions. The period of pregnancy and early parenthood is associated with worsening education-related disparities in smoking as well as substantial clustering of risk factors. These observations could influence the targeting and design of maternal smoking interventions. (Am J Public Health. 2002;92:1801-1808)

Smoking poses a significant threat to women's health.1 Women are more likely to stop smoking during pregnancy than at other times,1 yet the majority who quit are smoking again within 1 year postpartum.2-8 The lack of sustained benefit from interventions during pregnancy and postpartum9-16 suggests that our understanding of the determinants of smoking before, during, and after pregnancy remains inadequate.

In the only national population-based longitudinal study to examine this issue, Fingerhut et al.2 found that although 39% of smokers quit during pregnancy, 70% of them relapsed within 1 year postpartum. The lowest quitting rates were among those who smoked most before pregnancy and who had the least education. No significant risk factors for smoking relapse were identified. Although this was an important early contribution to smoking cessation research, the study included only White women, had a small sample size for examining relapse rates (n= 191 quitters), and did not assess potentially important risk factors, such as income17 and the presence of other household smokers.3,5-7,18 A populationbased, cross-sectional study found similar quitting and relapse rates but also identified African American race, parity, stressful events, and pregnancy weight gain as predictors.8 Other studies have found additional significant factors, including marital status,19 alcohol use,12 and breastfeeding.3,4 Surprisingly few studies have examined maternal depression despite the link between depression and smoking outside the context of pregnancy20-26 and its prevalence among women with young children.27,28

This prior research offers a detailed but fragmented picture of the factors associated with maternal smoking. First the relative importance of any given risk factor is difficult to interpret, because past studies each examined different sets of covariates. Second, important clinical (e.g., depressive symptoms) and social (e.g., income) risk factors remain inadequately studied. Third, no study has examined the clustering of these risk factors or assessed their cumulative effects.29-31 Finally, small sample sizes,3,5-7 sample homogeneity,2 and a lack of longitudinal data17 have further limited interpretation. The present study used data from the 1988 National Maternal and Infant Health Survey (NMIHS) and 1991 Longitudinal Follow-Up (LF), a national cohort study designed to identify factors related to poor pregnancy outcomes.32,33 We investigated factors associated with maternal smoking trends over the course of pregnancy and the first 3 years postpartum. We examined a more comprehensive set of clinical and social factors than has been analyzed to date, for both their individual and their cumulative associations with maternal smoking behaviors.



The 1988 NMIHS was a population-based survey of 9953 women giving birth in 1988. Sampling was based on birth certificates from 48 states and the District of Columbia; Black mothers and the mothers of low- and very low birthweight infants were oversampled. The 1988 NMIHS was administered 175 months after delivery, and questions about pregnancy behaviors were based on maternal recall. The 1991 LF was administered 355 months after delivery. Eighty-eight percent (n=82 85) of the women completed the LF, and these women constitute the sample for this study. Additional information on the NMIHS has been published elsewhere.34,35


Outcomes. We examined four outcome measures. The first three of these outcomes came from the 1988 NMIHS and were determined by the mother's response to the following questions: "Did you smoke cigarettes during the 12 months before delivery?"; "Did you quit smoking for at least a week during your pregnancy?"; and "Do you smoke cigarettes now?" The fourth outcome, smoking at the time of the 1991 LF (355 months postpartum), was determined by the question "Do you smoke cigarettes now at all?" All responses were dichotomous. The predictor variables that follow were recoded to accommodate nonlinear relationships, skewed distributions, and prior approaches in the literature.

Socioeconomic and demographic variables. Maternal education (< 12 years, 12 years, 13 to 15 years, >= 16 years), total household income (<$10 000, $10,000 to $19 999, $20000 to $34 999, $35 000 to $49 999, and >=$50,000), Hispanic ethnicity, and marital status (currently married, never married, formerly married) were reported by the mother in the 1988 NMIHS. Maternal age (<20, 20 to 29, >=30 years) and race came from the birth certificate. Race and ethnicity data were combined to create 4 groups (White, non-Hispanic; Black, non-Hispanic; Hispanic; other).

Clinical variables. Additional self-report measures from the 1988 NMIHS included amount smoked during the 3 months before conception (< 1, >=1 pack/day), number of drinks per week before learning of pregnancy (< 1, 1 to 2, >=3), number of drinks per week after learning of pregnancy (< 1, >=1), pregnancy intention (wanted to become pregnant at that time, did not want to become pregnant at that time), and being currently pregnant (at the time of the 1988 NMIHS). Parity (1, >=2) and infant birthweight (<2500 g, >=2500 g) also came from the birth certificate.

We used any intention to breastfeed as a predictor for quitting during pregnancy, and ever breastfeeding as a predictor for smoking relapse after pregnancy.4 Maternal weight gain during pregnancy was constructed from the self-report of maternal weight before pregnancy and before delivery and was coded as either in the top quartile (>=40 lb) or below the top quartile.8 Maternal depression was determined by the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale, a 20-item selfreport instrument included in the 1988 NMIHS. Women who scored 16 or above (out of a possible 60) were classified as having significant depressive symptoms.36

Contextual variables. The number of smokers (0, >=1) living with the mother during pregnancy and the number of smokers (0,


>=1) living with the mother at 175 months postpartum were ascertained in the 1988 NMIHS.


In the cross-sectional bivariate and multivariate analyses of each outcome, we used all women with available data. In the description of maternal smoking patterns over time (Figure 1) and in our longitudinal analysis, we used only those women who had outcome data available at all 4 points in time. Therefore, there is slight variation in the reported prevalence of smoking at each time point. For cross-sectional analyses, associations between independent variables and smoking outcomes were first examined in bivariate analyses. Significance was determined by the X^sup 2^ statistic and associated P value. Multivariate logistic regression analyses were used to determine the independent associations of the covariates on smoking outcomes. In longitudinal analyses, we examined the association of depressive symptoms at 175 months postpartum with the change in smoking status between 175 and 355 months (i.e., between the 1988 and 1991 surveys). We report adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs). All variables that were significant in the prior literature were included in the regression models and were maintained in the adjusted analyses.

We weighted analyses to reflect US women who had a live birth in 1988, using data provided by the National Center for Health Sta tistics. We used SAS Version 8.1 (SAS Institute Inc, Cary, NC) and SAS-callable SUDAAN Version 7.5.4A (Research Triangle Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC).


Twenty-nine percent of the women smoked during the 12 months before delivery, 56% quit smoking for at least 1 week during pregnancy, and the majority (72%) of women who quit were smoking again at 17+/5 months postpartum (Figure 1). At 355 months, an additional 367 women (approximately 17% of all 1991 LF smokers) reported smoking, despite reporting no history of smoking in the 12 months before delivery. The net result was that the prevalence of smoking decreased slightly, from 29% within the 12 months before delivery to 26% at 355 months postpartum.

Smoking During the 12 Months Before Delivery

Compared with women who had graduated from college, women who had not graduated from high school were more than 4 timesas likely to smoke during the 12 months before delivery, adjusting for covariates (Table 1). The presence of other household smokers and increased alcohol consumption had similarly strong, independent associations with increased smoking. Lower family income, unmarried status, White race, and increased maternal age were also significant predictors of smoking.

Quitting During Pregnancy

Women who had not completed high school were one third as likely to quit smoking during pregnancy compared with women who had graduated from college, after adjusting for covariates (Table 2). Consuming 1 or more drinks per week during pregnancy, greater parity, no intention to breastfeed, and presence of other smokers in household were all independently associated with a lower likelihood of quitting during pregnancy.


Relapsing After Pregnancy

Women who lived with another smoker were 4 times as likely to relapse as women who did not live with another smoker (Table 3). Low income and less education were also significant predictors of relapse. Neither breastfeeding nor the experience of having a low- birthweight infant conferred protection against relapse. In contrast to their significant association with quitting, the amount smoked before delivery and prenatal alcohol consumption were not significant predictors of relapse. Pregnancy weight gain also had no association with relapse.

Summary of Predictors

Maternal education and household smoking had significant adverse associations with all three outcomes (Table 4). Income also had consistent, but more modest, associations across all outcomes. Black race was associated with a reduced likelihood of smoking during the 12 months before delivery but was not associated with increased quitting or lower relapse.

Depressive Symptoms and Maternal Smoking

Twenty-four percent of women screened positive for depression at 175 months postpartum. Depressive symptoms were significantly associated with concurrent smoking (odds ratio [OR] = 1.2; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.0, 1.4). However, they were not associated with any change in smoking status between 175 and 35+/ -5 months (the 1988 NMIHS and 1991 LF). Among women who were not smoking at 175 months (n=5746), depressive symptoms at that time did not predict smoking initiation (n = 307) between the 2 surveys (OR=0.9; 95% CI=0.6, 1.4). Similarly, among women who were smoking at 175 months, depressive symptoms were not associated with continued smoking between the 2 surveys (OR= 1.1; 95% CI=0.8, 1.7).

Disparities in Smoking Over Time and Across Risk Factors

Education-related disparities in smoking rates increased over time. This increasing disparity was the result of the independent association of low education with both reduced likelihood of quitting and increased likelihood of later relapse. Smoking rates among women with a college degree decreased 30% from within 12 months before delivery to 355 months postpartum (11.7%1.1 % to 8.3%+/1.0%). In contrast, smoking rates among women with less than a high school degree did not decrease (39.9%1.7% to 41.1%+/1.80%). The net effect, therefore, was an increase in the relative disparity in smoking over the approximately 4-year window of time.

We examined the clustering of 5 risk factors found to be independently associated with current smoking at the time of the 1988 NMIHS. The risk factors were low income (<$20,000/year), less education (<=high school), living with another smoker, depressive symptoms (Center for Epidemiclogic Studies-Depression Scale score >=16), and alcohol consumption (>=3 drinks/week). Twenty-seven percent of all women had 2 risk factors, 18% had 3, and 7% had 4 or 5. A more detailed examination of smokers with depressive symptoms (n= 849), for example, showed that 57% lived in households with another smoker, 67% lived in low-income households, and 83% had no education beyond high school. Women with 0, 2, and 4 of these risk factors smoked at rates of 5.7%, 30.7%, and 58.10% (P< .00001), respectively.


Using a national sample with comprehensive demographic and clinical data, this study offers the fullest accounting to date of the patterns and correlates of smoking before, during, and after pregnancy. Three central findings emerge from this study relating to (1) the salient independent predictors of smoking outcomes, (2) the surprising lack of association between depressive symptoms and a change in smoking status, and (3) the disparities in smoking rates over time and across risk factors.

Predictors of Smoking Outcomes

Women with less education were more likely to smoke before delivery, less likely to quit during pregnancy, and more likely to relapse after delivery. The strengths of these relationships were striking even after adjustment for household income and other demographic covariates. Fingerhut et al.2 found associations of a similar magnitude between education levels and smoking rates before pregnancy as well as quitting rates but, in contrast, did not find that education levels predicted a postpartum relapse. This discrepancy may be due to power differences between their study and the current one. Given that in 1988 approximately 75% of all women smokers with young children had a 12th-grade education or less, future intervention trials should include a greater focus on these women, ensuring representation in study samples and appropriate educational materials.

A strong relationship was confirmed between the presence of other household smokers and an increased risk of postpartum relapse. The effect of partner smoking has been documented in prior studies,3,5- 7,12,15,18 and the more complete accounting for covariates in this study made little difference to the estimated effect. Studies in the general adult population have shown that such contextual smoking cues produce a desire to smoke.37 Recent animal research and human neuroimaging studies of addiction have suggested that the contextual cues themselves become directly associated with powerful neurobiological responses.38,39 The association of household smokers with postpartum relapse stands in some contrast to the weaker association of household smokers with quitting. It is not surprising that factors uniquely related to quitting may play a moderating role. For example, other smokers' support for the woman's quitting during pregnancy is likely stronger than their support for relapse prevention after delivery.5,18 Intervention research directed at changing the behavior of other household smokers appears to be an important area for future work.



Neither parity nor birthweight was associated with protective effects. Presumably, multiparous mothers have had increased contact with health providers and therefore an increased "dose" of health education about smoking. However, consistent with Cnattingius and Thorslund's results,19 increased parity was associated with a lower rate of quitting. Perhaps a third factor, such as a woman's attitude of diminished investment toward her own reproductive health and toward the health of the fetus, increases parity and reduces quitting. However, controlling for unintended pregnancy had no effect in the model of quitting. Women who have previously delivered a healthy infant despite smoking may also be less motivated to quit in subsequent pregnancies.

Having a low-birthweight infant did not protect against relapse, despite presumed contact with physicians after the pregnancy. One difficulty may lie in the relative elevation of prenatal quitting messages over messages that emphasize the risk associated with smoking outside the context of pregnancy. Women who deliver low- birthweight infants despite quitting (for at least a week) may have been given little reason to "stay quit" after pregnancy. The stress of caring for a low-birthweight baby may also promote relapse. Alternatively, women with a low-birthweight infant may be more inclined to overreport having quit during pregnancy; thus, these women would appear to have higher relapse rates. In contrast to other studies, this study did not find that postpartum breastfeeding4 protected against postpartum relapse and did not find that excessive pregnancy weight gain8 had an adverse effect on postpartum relapse. Controlling for a larger number of covariates in our analyses (e.g., including other household smokers) may in part explain the different findings.

Lack of Association Between Depressive Symptoms and Change in Postpartum Smoking Status

Maternal depressive symptoms were assodated with concurrent smoking status. Surprisingly, they were not associated with a change in smoking status. These results contrast with those of Anda et al.,20 who found that in the general population, depressive symptoms significantly decrease the likelihood of subsequent quitting. Studies focusing on the relationship between depression and smoking cessation during pregnancy have had mixed results.40-42 A postpartum relapse prevention trial found that poor mental health 12 months after delivery was associated with having relapsed.15 Hanna et al.,43 using the 1988 NMIHS data, suggested that depressive symptoms influence smoking during pregnancy, but their study examined fewer covariates than this study, and the depressive symptoms were assessed well after delivery. Nevertheless, the high rates of both postpartum depression and smoking relapse suggest that further additional prospective research is needed to clarify this complex relationship.

Disparities in Smoking Over Time and Across Risk Factors

This study demonstrates that the relative health disadvantage associated with low maternal education is dynamic and continues to accrue over a time period that is rich in health care contacts. The elimination of health disparities is now a major national health goal.44,45 As more efficacious treatments for smoking emerge,46 however, there is a risk that social disparities in smoking rat\es may actually increase if there are persistent differentials in knowledge about and access to these treatments.47 The rising Black- to-White differential in sudden infant death syndrome is one example of an increased health disparity between these groups that has resulted from an intervention (in this case, a campaign to change infants' sleep position).48



Our findings support the prior literature in delineating a series of independent risk factors associated with maternal smoking. However, the results also demonstrate that these "independent" risk factors cluster together. This clustering suggests the need for a more comprehensive and integrated approach across women's many health care contacts. It may also suggest the need for a broader notion of "well-women's care" with the goal of maintaining the positive health trajectory achieved during pregnancy. Specifically, the clustering of risk factors suggests that new interventions may be required for long-term success. This may include, for example, removing financial barriers to nicotine replacement therapy, focusing on the treatment of comorbid depression or alcohol problems, and changing the behavior of other household smokers.

Several limitations of this study exist. All smoking behaviors were by maternal selfreport, and behaviors during pregnancy were recalled approximately 17 months after delivery. Social desirability might lead to a biased recall of smoking. For example, underreporting of smoking might be more pronounced among highly educated women or women who had relapsed. However, self-reported smoking status, even well after the pregnancy, is reasonably accurate,49-51 and less educated women may actually be more likely to underreport smoking.52 Another limitation is that the outcomes lack detail. We cannot ascertain in which trimester the women quit smoking, whether the women did not smoke for the remainder of the pregnancy, and indeed whether some women quit before conception. The reported associations are not necessarily causal. An unobserved factor, such as a capacity to delay gratification, may jointly determine both the amount of education and smoking behavior.53 It is also important to note that the prevalence of smoking among pregnant women has decreased substantially since 1988. Nevertheless, the current social patterning of smoking may be as great, if not greater, than in 1988.54 Finally, the 88% response rate for the 1991 LF may bias the findings (e.g., relating to depressive symptoms), although the direction of the potential bias is unclear.

We used a nationally representative longitudinal cohort to examine the risk factors associated with smoking and relapse during the window of pregnancy and early parenthood. Of particular note was the powerful relationship between other household smokers and maternal relapse. In addition, we found that education-related disparities in smoking grew over a time period relatively rich in health care contacts and that the disparities rose sharply with an increasing number of clinical and social risk factors. Comprehensive interventions are needed that promote integration across health care contacts and that address the co-occurring morbidity that may constrain women's efforts to quit.

Copyright American Public Health Association Nov 2002


12:20 AM - Nov 24, 2002 #29

There are women who just seem to lose interest in smoking when pregnant. It is interesting because some of these women lose all desire for cigarettes before they actually even knew they were pregnant, as if their bodies just knew not to smoke. Unfortunately, if these same women do not work on establishing good reasons to stay off of smoking, they often relapse shortly after delivery. Back in the days when smoking was allowed in hospitals, some of these women relapsed almost instantly. I used to joke about it in clinics, to illustrate how strong the desire would be to these women I would say that they almost asked for a cigarette before they would ask what was the sex of the baby. Many women in my groups nodded and said they knew exactly what I was saying from their past experiences.

While pregnancy may be the impetus for some women starting a quit, more ammunition needs to be developed and worked on for these women to sustain their quits. Long-term abstinences is going to require that the ex-smoker is truly sustaining his or her quit for himself or herself. You are the primary benefactor of your quit and to keep the benefits is as simple as always remembering to never take another puff!


2:00 AM - Dec 20, 2002 #30

Just thought it would be a good idea to keep these two threads linked together:

Sudden infant death syndrome and smoking

Last edited by Joel on 10:01 PM - Dec 08, 2013, edited 2 times in total.


12:34 AM - Feb 02, 2003 #31

From Join Together Online:

Many Women Return to Smoking After Pregnancy


Although more women are quitting smoking during pregnancy, a new study finds that many return to cigarettes during the post-natal period, Health 24 reported Jan. 27.

The study analyzed surveys conducted from 1993 to 1999 involving 115,000 new mothers from 10 U.S. states. The data showed that 51 percent of pregnant women quit smoking in 1999, but half of them resumed smoking within six months of giving birth.

Those more likely to begin smoking again were teenagers and heavy smokers.

Based on the study's findings, author Dr. Gregory Colman of Pace University in New York recommended that doctors encourage women to stay away from cigarettes after their baby is born by emphasizing the dangers of secondhand smoke to infants.

The study is published in the January 2003 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Colman, G., & Joyce, T. (2003) Trends in smoking before, during, and after pregnancy in ten states. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 24(1): 29-35.


9:24 PM - Mar 24, 2003 #32

For Vickie:

The real "personal" benefit of quitting smoking when you are pregnant is that you have finally freed yourself smoking. That benefit is the same even if you quit when you are not pregnant. To keep your personal Freedom is as simple as always remembering to never take another puff!



8:48 PM - Mar 28, 2003 #33

Study: Smoking During Pregnancy Impairs Fetal Development

British research finds that women who smoke during pregnancy risk having smaller babies with smaller brains, Reuters reported March 24.

According to researchers at University College London, smoking damages the placenta and reduces levels of a critical growth hormone.

"The profound effects of smoking on fetal development are irreversible and may cause impairment in the health and well-being of the offspring in later life," said Dr. Peter Hindmarsh, lead author of the study. "In particular, the reduced brain size that we saw in smokers' babies could lead to impaired cognitive ability of the child."

The study involved 1,650 expectant mothers, including 200 who smoked throughout their pregnancy. The researchers measured blood flow between the fetus and placenta and monitored levels of insulin-like growth factors (IGF), a group of hormones essential to fetal growth and organ development.

After birth, the researchers weighed the newborns and measured their head size to determine brain size.

The study found that blood flow in the artery joining the fetus to the placenta was lower in women who smoked. This resulted in damage to the placenta and restricted the delivery of essential nutrients.

In addition, there was a lower amount of IGF in umbilical-cord blood among women who smoked. The levels varied, based on how many cigarettes the mother smoked.

"What we're talking about are reductions of about 10 to 15 percent in IGF levels, producing rather similar reductions in overall birth size, birth length, and head growth," said Hindmarsh.

Hindmarsh presented the study's findings at the annual meeting of the British Endocrine Societies, held recently in Glasgow, Scotland.

John Gold
John Gold

6:54 PM - Jun 14, 2004 #34

SIDS prevention--good progress,
but now we need to focus on avoiding nicotine.

Acta Paediatr. 2004 April;93(4):450-2.

Sundell HW.

Department of Pediatrics, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, Tennessee 37232-2585, USA. [][/url]

Chong et al. examined risk factors for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) before and after the start of the Swedish campaign to reduce the risk of SIDS. They found that maternal smoking was the strongest risk factor for SIDS in the post-campaign compared to the pre-campaign period.

CONCLUSION: After successful results of the SIDS campaigns to prevent prone sleeping, strong efforts need to be undertaken to eliminate maternal smoking during pregnancy altogether without replacing cigarette smoking with other nicotine delivery devices such as snuff, gum or patches.

Publication Types:
PMID: 15188968 [PubMed - in process]


John Gold
John Gold

7:23 PM - Jun 14, 2004 #35

Other discussions, studies and articles in this thread include ...
  • Message 2 & Message 3 Quitting during pregnancy sometimes seeming absurdly easy (Joel)
  • Message 7 Postpartum return to smoking among usual smokers who quit during pregnancy (2001 study)
  • Message 8, Message 11 NRT during pregnancy (Joel)
  • Message 13 Smoking, Sex and Reproduction (ASH Fact Sheet)
  • Message 17 Mothers who smoke may be hearing from colicky babies (2001 news article)
  • Message 18 Prenatal Nicotine Exposure Evokes Alterations of Cell Structure in Hippocampus and Somatosensory Cortex (2002 study)
  • Message 24 Nicotinic receptor expression following nicotine exposure via maternal milk (2002 study)
  • Message 25 Fetal Nicotine Exposure Tied to Breathing Problems (2002 news article)
  • Message 26 Altered Breathing Pattern after Prenatal Nicotine Exposure in the Young Lamb (2002 study)
  • Message 27 Smoking Moms Boost Unborn Babies' Autism Risk (2002 news article)
  • Message 28 When Moms Smoke, Certain Kids Are More Vulnerable to Respiratory Disease; Children With Key Common Genetic Variation Are More Susceptible to Asthma and Other Breathing Problems If Exposed to Tobacco in Womb (2002 news article)
  • Message 30 Study Suggests Why Cigarette Smoke a SIDS Risk (2002 news article)
  • Message 36 Joel discussing how quitting for the fetus or baby is not quitting for you.
  • Message 37 Joel discussing post-partum relapse
  • Message 38 Dangers of smoking while pregnant need to be emphasized by health care providers (2002 article)
  • Message 39 A reexamination of smoking before, during, and after pregnacy (2002 study)
  • Message 42 Many Women Return to Smoking After Pregnancy (2003 article)
  • Message 47 Study: Smoking During Pregnancy Impairs Fetal Development (2003 article)
  • Message 54 SIDS prevention--good progress, but now we need to focus on avoiding nicotine (2004 study)