Advertisement

Smoking linked to infant heart defects

A Chinese security guard stands next to a No smoking sign posted on a construction site in Beijing November 28, 2010. Smoking could eventually kill a third of all young Chinese men if nothing is done to get them to drop the habit, according to the largest-to-date survey of tobacco use in the country. Two recent landmark studies involving 1.25 million Chinese people show that China has the largest number of smoking-related deaths in the world. UPI/Stephen Shaver
A Chinese security guard stands next to a "No smoking" sign posted on a construction site in Beijing November 28, 2010. Smoking could eventually kill a third of all young Chinese men if nothing is done to get them to drop the habit, according to the largest-to-date survey of tobacco use in the country. Two recent landmark studies involving 1.25 million Chinese people show that China has the largest number of smoking-related deaths in the world. UPI/Stephen Shaver | License Photo

ATLANTA, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- A pregnant woman who smokes in her first trimester is much more likely to have an infant with a congenital heart defect, U.S. health officials say.

A study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta found tobacco exposure is associated with a 20 percent to 70 percent increased risk of certain types of defects such as those that obstruct the flow of blood from the right side of the heart into the lungs and openings between the upper chambers of the heart.

Advertisement

"Women who smoke and are thinking about becoming pregnant need to quit smoking and, if they're already pregnant, they need to stop," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, says in a statement.

"Quitting is the single most important thing a woman can do to improve her health as well as the health of her baby."

The findings, published in the journal Pediatrics, are based on a large U.S. population-based case-control study of congenital heart defects involving 2,525 case and 3,435 control infants born from 1981 to 1989.

If women quit smoking before or early in pregnancy, as many as 100 cases of right ventricular outflow tract obstructions and 700 cases of atrial septal defects could be eliminated each year in the United States, the study says.

Advertisement

Latest Headlines