Mummy Buzz


Cigarettes Cause Birth Defects

No Ciggies for Expectant Moms

Though it may strike you as something of a no-brainer, new public health warnings have cemented the link between smoking during pregnancy and birth defects.

From missing or deformed limbs, facial defects and gastrointestinal problems, to miscarriage and premature birth, the possible risks of smoking while pregnant would seem deterrent enough to kick the nicotine habit.

Yet it's estimated that 10.5 per cent of Canadian women and 17 per cent of British women carried on smoking throughout their pregnancies.

In the journal, Human Reproduction Update, British researchers examined 172 research papers on birth defects associated with smoking. Risks identified included having a baby with missing or deformed limbs, club foot, gastrointestinal defects, skull defects, eye defects, and cleft lip or cleft palate.

According to the researchers at University College London Cancer Institute, not enough is being done to educate women of the potential birth defects of smoking while pregnant.

"These specific defects should be included in public health educational information to encourage more women to quit smoking before or early on in pregnancy, and to particularly target younger women and those from lower socioeconomic groups, in which smoking prevalence is greatest."

Do you think adding birth defects to the already long list of health hazards would persuade pregnant women to give up cigarettes? Or are risks a moot point in the face of an addiction like smoking?