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Early Hum Dev. 2004 Aug;79(1):49-58.

Influences of maternal cigarette smoking on infant arousability.

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Ritchie Centre for Baby Health Research, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.


Since the reduction in the incidence of the prone sleeping position, maternal cigarette smoking has become the strongest modifiable risk factor for Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). This risk is dose dependent. Various mechanisms have been postulated to explain the increased risk of SIDS associated with maternal smoking, among these, impairment of arousal from sleep. This paper reviews the effects of maternal smoking on infant arousability from sleep, cardiorespiratory controls and sleep architecture. Infants exposed to maternal smoking have been shown to have both decreased spontaneous and evoked arousability from sleep. Such impairment of arousal has been demonstrated to be associated with changes in control of autonomic cardiac function. Sleep architecture appears not to be altered by smoking. During arousal, heart rate, blood pressure and breathing movements increase, while gross body movements occur to avoid the stimulus. Any impairment in arousability from sleep could occur when infants are exposed to maternal cigarette smoking, and could possibly contribute to the final pathway to SIDS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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