Navigation Links
Another Reason Not to Smoke While Pregnant: Birth Defects

Research finds a much greater risk of finger and toe deformities,,,,

FRIDAY, Aug. 17 (HealthDay News) -- One of the first things every new parent does is count the baby's fingers and toes. But, women who smoke during pregnancy may be in for an unhappy surprise, because smoking increases the odds that a baby will be born with finger or toe deformities.

Just a half a pack a day increased the risk of having a baby with extra, missing or webbed fingers or toes by nearly 30 percent, according to a study in a recent issue of the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.

"One of the things that smoking does is interfere with oxygen delivery to cells at very key moments in development," explained Dr. Manuel Alvarez, chairman of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Hackensack University Medical Center, in New Jersey. "If cells are deprived of oxygen, they don't proliferate as they should. If cells don't proliferate, you can have limb deformities."

About one out of every nine expectant mothers smokes, according to the March of Dimes. If no pregnant woman smoked, the rate of stillbirths would drop by 11 percent, and newborn deaths would decrease by about 5 percent, according to the March of Dimes. Smoking also increases the risk of preterm birth, a low birth-weight baby and cerebral palsy in the baby.

Limb defects aren't uncommon. About one in 600 babies is born with an extra finger or toe -- a condition known as polydactyly. A baby born with webbed toes or fingers -- syndactyly -- occurs in about one in every 2,000 to 2,500 births. Missing toes or fingers is known as adactyly. Webbed fingers or toes are more common in white babies, while excess digits are more common in black babies. Most of the time, these deformities occur in babies with no family history of such birth defects, which led researchers to suspect environmental causes.

After sifting through almost 7 million birth records from 2001 to 2002, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania found almost 5,200 babies born to women who smoked who also had deformed fingers or toes. None of the women who smoked had other medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or diabetes.

The researchers found that the more a woman smoked, the greater the likelihood of finger or toe anomalies. Women who smoked more than a pack a day had a 78 percent increased risk of having a baby with deformed toes or fingers, while women who smoked 11 to 20 cigarettes daily had a 38 percent increased risk. Those who smoked 10 or fewer cigarettes a day upped their babies' risk by 29 percent.

"This is another reason to stop smoking," said Dr. Alfred Robichaux III, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at Ochsner Health System in New Orleans. "The problems with smoking during pregnancy are increased bleeding, miscarriage, premature deliveries and low birth weight. Babies born to mothers [who are] smokers have higher respiratory illnesses and lower IQs. They also have a higher rate of SIDS. And, now we have evidence that they have up to a 30 percent increase in limb defects.

"Thankfully, surveys are showing that the rate of smoking during pregnancy is on the decline. It looks like the word is getting out," Robichaux added.

Dr. Robert Welch, chairman and program director of obstetrics and gynecology at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich., said he wasn't surprised by this study's findings, since previous research has linked smoking to an increased risk of cleft lip and palette.

He said the best thing a woman can do is quit smoking before she gets pregnant.

"If you're contemplating pregnancy, that's when you want to stop," Welch advised. However, both Welch and Alvarez pointed out that it's never too late for a pregnant woman to stop -- or at the very least cut down -- on her smoking.

"We encourage women with each prenatal visit and may shorten the time between prenatal visits for extra support. We recommend smoking reduction with the idea that it will lead to cessation," Welch said.

Both experts said nicotine replacement products aren't recommended for pregnant women, but that many women have success quitting smoking using acupuncture. Both Welch and Alvarez said it's key for the woman's partner to quit smoking as well or stay away while smoking.

What's most important, said Alvarez, is to be upfront with your doctor about your smoking habit.

"I would rather know the truth, so I know why the baby isn't growing adequately. Tell me that you're having major difficulty quitting, and we can work on breaking the habit," Alvarez said.

More information

To learn more about the effects of smoking during pregnancy, visit the March of Dimes.

SOURCES: Manuel Alvarez, M.D., chairman, department of obstetrics and gynecology, Hackensack University Medical Center, N.J.; Robert Welch, M.D., chairman and program director of obstetrics and gynecology at Providence Hospital and Medical Center, Southfield, Mich.; Alfred Robichaux III, M.D., chairman, obstetrics and gynecology, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans; January 2006, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery


Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.

Related medicine news :

1. Another ray of hope for Arthritis Sufferers
2. Another injectable contraceptive Pill approved by FDA
3. Endangered species may be successfully cloned in another animals womb
4. Yet Another Treatment Option For Cancer
5. Another Alternative For Diabetics On Insulin
6. Yet another plus for breast feeding!
7. The Possibility Of Fighting HIV with Another Virus Questioned
8. New Research Has Found Another Use For Botox
9. Yet Another Harmful Consequence Of Smoking
10. Another Treatment Option for Benign Tumors
11. Another Use For Epilepsy Drugs
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/28/2015)... ... ... 6:00 a.m. EST until 11:59 p.m. EST, customers will be racing the ... orders $80 or more to free gifts with purchases, there will be a new sale ... website for skin care and cosmetic needs, customers will save on already discounted prices. , ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 28, 2015 , ... There is only one major question facing all ... year? , This question has not been an easy question to answer. Especially when ... and the younger workforce don’t share the same discipline around working long hours. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... According to an article published November 6th by The ... of British Columbia suggested that laws requiring bicyclists to wear helmets may not actually ... the reason for the controversial conclusion is that, while helmets have certainly prevented a ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... the health care in America. As people age, more care is needed, especially ... are rising, and medical professionals are being overworked. The forgotten part of this ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... safe and convenient way to dispense prescription medications at home, so he invented ... way to monitor and dispense prescription medications. In doing so, it could help ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... November 26, 2015 ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ... Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, ... their offering. --> ) ... "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies in ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... DUBLIN , November 26, 2015 ... has announced the addition of the  ... in the European Therapeutic Drug Monitoring ... Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities"  report ... ) has announced the addition ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... -- Research and Markets ( ) has ... Horizons and Growth Strategies in the Italian Therapeutic ... Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging Opportunities" report to ... --> This new 247-page report provides ... monitoring market, including emerging tests, technologies, instrumentation, sales ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: