ONE-IN-FIVE moms-to-be still smoke while carrying their unborn children — and new research shows they’re exposing their babies to horrible birth defects.
Babies with smoking moms are up to 50 percent more likely to be born with missing limbs, clubfoot, cleft lip and skull and stomach deformities.The findings are based on research carried out in the UK over the last 50 years on more than 11 million babies.
It’s made all the more alarming because of survey results that show 17 percent of women still smoke while expecting and 45 percent of girls under 20 refuse to kick their cigarette habit when they get pregnant.
Study author, Professor Allan Hackshaw, from University College London, explains the findings, “People may think that few women still smoke when pregnant. But the reality is that, particularly in women under 20, the numbers are still staggeringly high.”
“However, very few public health educational policies mention birth defects when referring to smoking and those that do are not very specific – this is largely because of past uncertainty over which ones are directly linked.”
“Now we have this evidence, advice should be more explicit about the kinds of serious defects such as deformed limbs, and facial and gastrointestinal malformations that babies of mothers who smoke during pregnancy could suffer from.”
“The message from this research is that women should quit smoking before becoming pregnant, or very early on, to reduce the chance of having a baby with a serious and lifelong physical defect.”
– Ian Garland
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