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Am J Public Health. 1994 Jul;84(7):1127-31.

Low birthweight at term and the timing of fetal exposure to maternal smoking.

Author information

1
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

This study was undertaken to evaluate the risk of small-for-gestational-age birth for women who stop smoking or begin to smoke during pregnancy.

METHODS:

Women with term singleton pregnancies from a hospital-based cohort of 11,177 were classified as (1) nonsmokers; (2) smoked throughout pregnancy; (3) smoked during first trimester only; (4) smoked during first and second trimesters only; and (5) smoked during second and third trimesters or during third trimester only. Risk of small-for-gestational-age birth according to smoking category was estimated and adjusted for confounding factors by logistic regression.

RESULTS:

Women who stopped smoking by the third trimester were not at increased risk of small-for-gestational-age birth compared with nonsmokers. Women who began smoking during the second or third trimester had an elevated risk of small-for-gestational-age birth (odds ratio [OR] = 1.83; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.25, 2.67) similar to that for women who smoked throughout pregnancy (OR = 2.20; 95% CI = 1.90, 2.54). Risk of small-for-gestational-age birth increased with the number of cigarettes smoked during the third trimester.

CONCLUSIONS:

It is during the third trimester that smoking retards fetal growth, presenting a compelling opportunity for smoking cessation interventions. Programs must emphasize the importance of not resuming smoking late in pregnancy.

PMID:
8017537
PMCID:
PMC1614741
DOI:
10.2105/ajph.84.7.1127
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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