"We have known for 50 years that infants born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy have lower birth weights. But this study provides a possible explanation of why there is restricted blood flow to the fetus. Reduced production of the vasodilator nitric oxide may lower the blood flow to the fetus."
Babies born to women who smoked had systolic blood pressure that was 5.4 points higher on average than that of babies born to nonsmokers researchers, at the University Medical Center, Utrecht found. Also significant was the finding that babies of smoking women in the study had significantly lower birth weights, were shorter and had a smaller chest circumference than babies of nonsmokers.
"Maternal smoking in pregnancy leads to adverse developmental changes," the authors conclude.
A recent study suggests that women who smoke anytime during the month before pregnancy to the end of the first trimester are more likely to have a baby with birth defects, particularly congenital heart defects. The risk of heart defects appears to increase with the number of cigarettes a woman smokes.
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