If pregnant smokers needed another reason to quit smoking, a new study has found it. According to some researchers, the habit can raise the risk of giving birth to a baby with more or less fingers or deformed.
On the source of a national database of U.S., researchers have discovered that children born from mothers who smoked during pregnancy were 31% more likely to suffer these anomalies than the children of non-smokers. Further, if the mother smoke more, the greater the risk.
Li Ching-Man and Dr. Benjamin Chang of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia led the study. The work so far is the largest conducted on smoking and birth defects of the fingers and toes. The findings are published in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery.
It is estimated that one in every 600 children born with more of a finger (polydactyly). Fingers together (syndactyly) are less frequent and observed in a 2500 or DE3 every 2,000 births. Adactilia is the absence of fingers on the hands or feet.
For the study, researchers analyzed information from a national database covering nearly all births in the U.S. between 2001 and 2002. Of the more than eight million births, information was available on 6.8 million cases.
A total of 6522 infants had polydactyly, syndactyly or adactilia. Of these, 1,121 had other abnormalities, so they were excluded from analysis. On average, 5171 children were included in the final analysis.
The risk was not only higher among children born to smokers, but also the number of cigarettes the mother smoked during pregnancy influence.
Mothers who smoked at least one packet daily were at greater risk, with 78% more likely that babies have some abnormality in fingers. But even smokers with reduced consumption (10 or less per day) raised their risk by 29%.
Source: Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 2006, 117:301-308