Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Second-Hand Smoke Exposure Boosts Miscarriage Risk

Researchers at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden have found that exposure to second-hand smoke puts a mother at greater risk of experiencing a miscarriage. For the study, 463 women who had miscarried between 6 and 12 weeks of pregnancy were compared to 864 women at the same stage of pregnancy that did not miscarry. All women had blood samples taken to evaluate the level of cotinine (which indicates exposure to nicotine) in their blood.

Of the women who miscarried, 24% had continine levels that showed they had been exposed to second-hand smoke, compared to 19% of the women who hadn’t miscarried. While smokers were twice as likely to miscarry than non-smokers, women exposed to second-hand smoke were 67% more likely to miscarry compared to women with no exposure to second-hand smoke.

In their conclusion, researchers wrote: “Given the high prevalence of exposure to environmental tobacco smoke and the fact that spontaneous abortion is the most common adverse outcome of pregnancy, the public health consequences of passive smoking regarding early fetal loss may be substantial.”

Source: Reuters.co.uk

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