Pregnant smokers may face increased sudden infant death risk

Henrietta Strickland
March 14, 2019

The researchers posit that SUID deaths would decrease by over 20 percent if all women stopped smoking during pregnancy, preventing approximately 800 infant deaths every year. The study analyzed CDC data on 20 million babies to come to its conclusions.

Even single cigarette each day during pregnancy can double SUID risk, cautioned an research.

The risk was highest among heavier smokers.

The researchers found a direct link between smoking and SUID risk, as those who smoked during pregnancy - even just one cigarette per day - doubled their risk of their newborn dying due to SUID.

"We hope advising women about this risk will result in less babies dying from these tragic causes".

Of those live births, more than 19,000 deaths over the four-year period were attributed to SUID, caused by sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), an unknown cause or accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed, researchers found.

For women who did smoke during pregnancy, each additional daily cigarette from 1 to 20 increased the odds of SUID by seven percent.

However, the good news is that women who reduced their smoking by the third trimester benefited from a 12 per cent reduction in the risk of SUID compared with those who continued smoking, and those who quit smoking altogether saw a 23 percent reduction in risk.

To better understand how smoking contributed to SUID risk, the researchers used computational modelling techniques to analyse maternal cigarette smoking habits for all USA live births from 2007 to 2011.

The study wasn't a controlled experiment created to prove whether or how smoking causes SUID.

Beyond overall cigarette consumption, the researchers also looked at how smoking before pregnancy, and cutting back or quitting smoking during pregnancy, affected SUID risk. Furthermore, while the effects of smoking during pregnancy were derived from the entire cohort, the effects of smoking before pregnancy were determined using only data from 2011 (3.1 million total births and 2585 SUIDs).

Anderson says the data from this study supports public health efforts aimed at encouraging women to quit smoking well before pregnancy. In fact, some studies have shown that smoking is the "strongest prenatal modifiable risk factor for SIDS in industrialized nations", according to the study.

Both parents should quit smoking before trying to conceive, said Michael Gradisar, a psychology researcher at Flinders University in Australia who wasn't involved in the study.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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