Washington: Babies born to mothers who smoke weigh and measure less, a new study has revealed.
The new study lead by the University of Zaragoza evaluates the differences in body composition and proportional distribution of body mass between babies born to mothers who have or have not smoked during pregnancy.
It reveals that children of woman who did not smoke during pregnancy weigh and measure more.
Their corporal dimensions are also significantly higher compared to the children of mothers who did smoke during pregnancy. But, this is not the same as body weight index (the relationship between height and cubic weight).
In fact, the results highlight that mothers who smoke during pregnancy give birth to babies that are between 180 and 230 grams thinner than the offspring of mothers who do not smoke. In other words, this constitutes an average of 216 grams.
Furthermore, subcutaneous skinfolds, which show the amount of fat, are lower in children born of mothers who smoked. In this case however, differences were not as great as with body size.
On the contrary, the authors of the study did not find any correlation between anthropometric measurements and the number of cigarettes smoked per day during pregnancy.
“Given the scarce bibliography on the subject, we had to assess the impact of tobacco on the body composition of babies born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy,” Gerardo Rodríguez, lead author of the study, said.
For this purpose, the experts analysed the newly born full term babies with a gestational age of at least 37 weeks of 1216 Caucasian mothers (22.1 percent of whom smoked an average of almost eight cigarettes per day) in the University Clinical Hospital of Lozano Blesa in Zaragoza.
The children of those mothers who had admitted to consuming alcohol or taking illegal drugs during pregnancy were excluded from the study.
“Tobacco consumption during pregnancy can cause a generalised reduction in the majority of parameters as a result of a decrease in foetal growth. Newly born babies to mothers who smoked during pregnancy are smaller and have less subcutaneous fat compartments,” Rodríguez added.
The study has been published in the Early Human Development journal.