Tags: pregnancy | smoking | asthma

Smoking in Pregnancy ups Asthma Risk

Wednesday, 06 June 2012 11:15 AM

Here’s yet another reason pregnant women should kick the tobacco habit for their kids’ sake: A new study of African-American and Latino children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy found they are more likely to suffer from severe asthma symptoms in their teens than those whose mothers didn’t use tobacco.

The research, led by scientists at the University of California-San Francisco, analyzed nearly 2,500 children between 8 and 17 years old with asthma and found those with acute asthma symptoms were far more likely to have had mothers who smoked during pregnancy.
"If women smoked while pregnant, their children had about a 50 percent increase in uncontrolled asthma, even when we controlled for current tobacco exposure," said lead researcher Sam S. Oh, with the UCSF Center for Tobacco Research and Education. "Kids who are 17 years old still show the effects of something they were exposed to during the first 9 months of life."
Researchers, writing in The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, said a greater proportion of women from ethnic minorities smoke during pregnancy and rates of asthma are higher among Latinos and African-Americans than in the overall U.S. population.
Acute asthma costs an estimated $56 billion per year in U.S. medical expenses, premature deaths and missed days of work and school, according to the National Institutes of Health.
"Most mothers tend to quit smoking as pregnancy progresses, with the majority quitting by the end of the first trimester," Oh said. "But in African-American and Puerto Rican mothers, not only did they smoke more frequently, but they also smoked for a longer time during pregnancy."
About 14 percent of American women smoke during pregnancy, according to the U.S. Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System. Among African-American women, nearly 19 percent smoke during pregnancy, as do 6 percent of Puerto Rican mothers and 4 percent of Mexican mothers.
"This could be part of the reason African-Americans have higher mortality rates associated with asthma," said Dr. Esteban Gonzalez Burchard, with the UCSF School of Pharmacy. "We know African-Americans metabolize nicotine differently than Caucasians. This shows that in utero exposure leads to changes in DNA, but we don't know how that affects asthma later on."

© HealthDay

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Teens whose mothers smoked during pregnancy are more likely to suffer from severe asthma.
Wednesday, 06 June 2012 11:15 AM
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