Stopping smoking early in pregnancy 'reduces risks'

A new study has indicated that stopping smoking within 15 weeks of becoming pregnant can reduce the risk of giving birth to a premature or small baby.

Research carried out by a team led by Dr Lesley McCowan, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at the University of Auckland, New Zealand, indicates that non-smokers and those who stop within four months of conception are more likely to experience a normal labour and give birth to a healthy-sized infant.

Published in the British Medical Journal, the study revealed that four per cent of non-smokers and those who quit gave birth prematurely, compared to ten per cent of smokers.

Small birth weights were recorded by 10 per cent of those who did not smoke at the point of birth, with the figure rising to 17 per cent among those who did.

Dr McCowan said: "In women who stopped smoking before 15 weeks' gestation, rates of spontaneous pre-term birth and small-for-gestational-age infants did not differ from those in non-smokers, indicating that these severe adverse effects of smoking may be reversible if smoking is stopped early in pregnancy."

On March 8th 2009, smokers in the UK were urged to give up the habit on No Smoking Day.ADNFCR-2094-ID-19096141-ADNFCR