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Pediatr Res. 2004 Apr;55(4):645-51. Epub 2004 Jan 22.

Does in utero exposure to heavy maternal smoking induce nicotine withdrawal symptoms in neonates?

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1
Pediatric Pulmonology, Cliniques Saint-Luc, Université Catholique de Louvain, Bruxelles, Belgium. godding@mexp.ucl.ac.be

Abstract

Maternal drug use during pregnancy is associated with fetal passive addiction and neonatal withdrawal syndrome. Cigarette smoking-highly prevalent during pregnancy-is associated with addiction and withdrawal syndrome in adults. We conducted a prospective, two-group parallel study on 17 consecutive newborns of heavy-smoking mothers and 16 newborns of nonsmoking, unexposed mothers (controls). Neurologic examinations were repeated at days 1, 2, and 5. Finnegan withdrawal score was assessed every 3 h during their first 4 d. Newborns of smoking mothers had significant levels of cotinine in the cord blood (85.8 +/- 3.4 ng/mL), whereas none of the controls had detectable levels. Similar findings were observed with urinary cotinine concentrations in the newborns (483.1 +/- 2.5 microg/g creatinine versus 43.6 +/- 1.5 microg/g creatinine; p = 0.0001). Neurologic scores were significantly lower in newborns of smokers than in control infants at days 1 (22.3 +/- 2.3 versus 26.5 +/- 1.1; p = 0.0001), 2 (22.4 +/- 3.3 versus 26.3 +/- 1.6; p = 0.0002), and 5 (24.3 +/- 2.1 versus 26.5 +/- 1.5; p = 0.002). Neurologic scores improved significantly from day 1 to 5 in newborns of smokers (p = 0.05), reaching values closer to control infants. Withdrawal scores were higher in newborns of smokers than in control infants at days 1 (4.5 +/- 1.1 versus 3.2 +/- 1.4; p = 0.05), 2 (4.7 +/- 1.7 versus 3.1 +/- 1.1; p = 0.002), and 4 (4.7 +/- 2.1 versus 2.9 +/- 1.4; p = 0.007). Significant correlations were observed between markers of nicotine exposure and neurologic-and withdrawal scores. We conclude that withdrawal symptoms occur in newborns exposed to heavy maternal smoking during pregnancy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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