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Smoking Mothers Affect Little Lives

T. ALLEN MERRITT, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1981;135(6):501-502. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1981.02130300001001.
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Women who smoke cigarettes during pregnancy not only risk their own health, but also jeopardize the conditions under which their fetus grows and develops. Mothers who smoke affect the little lives of their unborn and newly born adversely, resulting in an increased spontaneous abortion rate,1 retardation of fetal growth at any gestational age,2 increased incidence of preterm delivery,3 and a higher perinatal mortality.4 Studies have consistently reported a significant correlation between the magnitude of maternal cigarette usage and the frequency of placenta previa, abruptio placentae, vaginal bleeding, and premature rupture of the fetal membranes5–all conditions that contribute significantly to perinatal morbidity and mortality.

Meyer6 has convincingly demonstrated that maternal smoking results in a predictable escalation in numbers of preterm deliveries, and at least four additional surveys including over 50,000 pregnancies found the risk of early delivery to be increased from 36% to 47%

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