Maternal smoking has been linked to asthma and obesity
Unborn babies exposed to cigarette smoke show higher asthma rates and increased likelihood of becoming obese as teenagers, new research has revealed.
A Swedish study of children between 1996 and 2008 concluded that the asthma risk for children went up by nearly 16% if their mum smoked throughout her pregnancy, the Montreal Gazette reported. This was also related to the low birth weights, known to have an impact the development of asthma.
The paper also reported findings from an obesity study in Canada which also linked its findings to low birth weight. It found that older teenagers who had been exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb had 26% more body fat than those born to non-smokers, that babies of smoking mums are more likely to have.
The study was not conclusive but nicotine has been shown to affect brain functions that control eating impulses and energy metabolism in animal studies. Zdenka Pausova, one of the lead researchers said, “We believe that maternal cigarette smoking during pregnancy plays an important role in the fetal programming of obesity”.