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Can Smoking During Pregnancy Cause Asthma

Can Smoking During Pregnancy Make My Child More Likely To Have Asthma

Smoking during pregnancy

Smoking harms an unborn child in many ways. Nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco products, is carried through the mothers bloodstream directly into the baby.

Children of women who smoked during pregnancy are more likely to have lung problems and are 10 times more likely to develop asthma. Smoking during pregnancy has also been linked with low-birth weight newborns, premature births, and sudden infant death syndrome .

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Can You Just Cut Down On Smoking Or Do You Have To Quit

You may think that light or mild cigarettes are safer choices during pregnancy. This is not true. Or you may want to cut down rather than quit smoking altogether. Its true that the less you smoke, the better for your baby. But quitting is best.

The sooner you quit smoking during pregnancy, the healthier you and your baby can be. Its best to quit smoking before getting pregnant. But quitting any time during pregnancy can have a positive effect on your babys life.

On average, smokers die 10 years earlier than nonsmokers. Quitting smoking reduces your risk of cancer and other diseases, like heart disease. When you quit smoking, you never have to go outside and look for a place to smoke. And quitting smoking can help you have:

  • Cleaner teeth, fresher breath and a better sense of taste
  • Fewer stains on your fingers
  • Fewer skin wrinkles
  • More energy to be more active

If you need help to quit smoking, tell your health care provider.

Can Smoking Harm My Unborn Child

Smoking harms both the mother and her unborn child. Along with harming the mothers lungs directly, nicotine, the addictive substance in tobacco products, and other substances are carried through the bloodstream of the mother and goes directly to the baby.

Children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are more likely to have respiratory problems and are ten times more likely to develop asthma. Smoking during pregnancy has also been linked with low-weight newborns, premature births and sudden infant death syndrome.

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How Is Smoking Harmful To Your Body

Cigarettes and cigars are made from tobacco leaves. Tobacco contains a drug called nicotine. Nicotine is what makes you become addicted to smoking. Addiction is a brain condition that makes you smoke, even if you dont want to. Addiction affects your self-control and your ability to stop smoking.

Smoke from tobacco contains more than 7,000 chemicals. At least 250 of these are harmful to smokers and nonsmokers. At least 69 of them can cause cancer. Breathing even a little tobacco smoke can be harmful.

Smoking harms nearly every organ in the body. It can cause serious health conditions, including:

  • Cancer of the lung, mouth, throat, kidneys and other organs. It also causes cancer of the blood .
  • Heart disease and lung disease
  • Stroke. This is when a blood clot blocks a blood vessel that brings blood to the brain, or when a blood vessel in the brain bursts open.
  • Eye problems that can lead to blindness

What Are The Asthma


Marijuana smoke is generally unfiltered. Smokers inhale marijuana more deeply than tobacco smoke. As a result, more tar ends up in the lungs.1 Marijuana smoke damages the lining of the airway and increases airway inflammation, which can trigger asthma symptoms.8

Compared with nonsmokers, marijuana smokers are more likely to have bronchitis, cough on most days, phlegm, wheezing, and chest sounds.1 Their breathing symptoms are very similar to tobacco smokers.

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Smoking Cessation For Pregnant Women With Asthma

Smoking is a critical issue for pregnant women with asthma, with data showing that women who smoke are more likely to have exacerbations during pregnancy and to have more severe symptoms during exacerbation . Studies from around the world have suggested that pregnant women with asthma are more likely to smoke than pregnant women without asthma . The 2030% of women with asthma who continue to smoke during pregnancy are at increased risk of poor perinatal outcomes from the combined effects of smoking, asthma and severe asthma exacerbations. However, no studies have trialled smoking cessation strategies among this population of women.

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How Common Is Smoking And Smoke Exposure

In 2013, 17.8% of the total US adult population smoked.7 Smoking is more common in men than women.7

A national survey showed that 46% of adults with obstructive lung disease are current smokers.4 In the group of people with moderate lung disease, 55% smoked.4

Seventeen percent of US teenagers with asthma say that they smoke tobacco.8 Among children and teens who do not smoke, 53.2% are exposed to second-hand smoke. In this group, 17.6% are exposed to smoke at home.

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Can Smoking While Pregnant Cause Asthma

Being pregnant is a great feeling for new moms. This is in fact a time which is best for you to quit your smoking habit and concentrate on the health of your unborn baby.

If not, you will be putting at risk of getting lung problems and respiratory issues such as asthma.

Hard to believe, more than 1000 babies die each year die only because their mothers used to smoke when they are pregnant.

The truth is, if you are smoking while pregnancy you are inviting long term health issues for your unborn child which can be faced by them at later stages of their life in the form of low immunity, cold, cough, etc.

Many times new born babies have small lungs which make it harder for them to breathe normal.

Second-hand smoke and third-hand smoke can also cause serious issues for young ones which may even lead to fatal issues like heavy wheezing, bronchitis, asthma and pneumonia.

What Are Signs And Symptoms Of Adult Onset Asthma

Asthma during Pregnancy – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Regardless of age, asthma symptoms can include:

Dry cough, especially at night or in response to specific triggers

Tightness or pressure in the chest

Wheezing a whistling sound when exhaling

Shortness of breath after exercise or physical exertion

Difficulty breathing

Colds that go to the chest or hang on for 10 days or more

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How Can Adult Onset Asthma Be Managed

If you manage your asthma, you can expect to lead a normal lifestyle. Basically, there are four key steps to managing asthma successfully:

1. Learn about asthma and stay up-to-date on new developments.

2. Take prescribed medications. Dont make any changes until you check with your physician. Dont use over- the-counter medications unless prescribed by your physician!

3. Check your lungs daily at home by using a peak flow meter. Asthma patients often can detect lung changes with a peak flow meter before they actually experience any changes. Visit your physician regularly for further in-office tests. Lung testing is painless and provides valuable data that helps your physician make adjustments in your medication.

4. Make an asthma management plan with your physician. A plan establishes guidelines that tell you what to do if your asthma symptoms get worse.

Comparison Of Participants And Non

Of the 17,480 subjects participating in the ECRHS I from 28 centres, 10,296 participated in ECRHS II , and the average follow-up time was 8.9 years . The median number of participants across centres was 586.5 . The participation rate in the ECRHS II was lower among those who were smokers at ECRHS I than among ex-smokers or never smokers .

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Smoking And Your Unborn Baby

Protecting your baby from tobacco smoke is one of the best things you can do to give your child a healthy start in life. It can be difficult to stop smoking, but it’s never too late to quit.

Every cigarette you smoke contains over 4,000 chemicals, so smoking when you are pregnant harms your unborn baby. Cigarettes can restrict the essential oxygen supply to your baby. As a result, their heart must beat harder every time you smoke.

The Role Of Endocrine Disorders

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Endocrine disruption during pregnancy is a potential cause of adverse pregnancy outcomes. Endocrine glands form an important part of the fetoplacental unit that can secrete a significant amount of hormones including the estrogen to support pregnancy. Estrogen plays a key role in regulating neuroendocrine homeostasis in the developing fetus and promotes Th2 immune cell development in the fetus . A human study demonstrated that abnormal estrogen level in pregnant mothers affects fetal development . A reduction in estrogen and estrone levels in the cord blood has been found if the mother smoked during pregnancy . This is because smoking can produce an anti-estrogenic effect and induce androgenisation in pregnant mothers to disturb hormonal homeostasis . Such changes may influence the risk of asthma in offspring .

The evidence to prove the relationship between maternal PM exposure and its impact on endocrine homeostasis are scarce. It has been shown that the endocrine-disrupting chemicals on the surface of PM can disrupt sex hormone synthesis . Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in both tobacco smoke and PM, can also affect steroidogenesis through inhibiting steroidogenic enzymes . However, there is no direct evidence suggesting the correlation between hormone change induced by maternal PM exposure and fetal lung development, neither is known about the risk of asthma in the offspring .

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Stop Smoking: The Sooner The Better

When to quit smoking? How about right away, say the researchers.

They couldn’t pinpoint the key time to quit during pregnancy. That’s because most participants who smoked during pregnancy never stopped.

Pregnant or not, smoking isn’t good for anyone. Bring a baby into the picture, and it’s even more important to quit.

“Maternal smoking cessation before pregnancy can greatly reduce the risk of childhood asthma,” writes Gilliland, who works at the University of Southern California’s medical school.

Which Medications Treat And Manage Asthma During Pregnancy

Most people with asthma take at least two medications: one for long-term prevention and control of asthma symptoms and one for quick ârescueâ in case of an attack. The long-term medications are taken daily, even if there are no symptoms.

During pregnancy, inhaled corticosteroids are the mainstay for long-term control. Long-term medications are sometimes combined into single preparations, such as an inhaled steroid and a long-acting beta-agonist.

Rescue medications are taken only when symptoms appear. Inhaled short-acting beta-agonists are usually the first choice for fast relief of symptoms.

Control and Preventive Medications

Inhaled corticosteroids: Corticosteroids prevent symptoms by preventing the swelling and mucus secretion that go along with inflammation. They help prevent severe asthma attacks. They are the most popular long-acting asthma drugs for pregnant women because they work well and are considered to be safe in pregnancy. They cause few side effects. Examples include budesonide and beclomethasone .

Leukotriene inhibitors: These drugs work by blocking a substance that is produced by cells in your body that causes swelling and spasm of airways. These drugs are considered safe during pregnancy, but in general they do not work for as many people as inhaled steroids. Examples are montelukast , zafirlukast , and zileuton .

Rescue Medications

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What Should I Do To Avoid Asthma Attacks During Pregnancy

Keep Your Asthma Well-Controlled

Avoiding asthma triggers is always important, but is even more important during pregnancy. Pregnant women with asthma should increase avoidance measures to gain greatest comfort with the least medicine.

  • Stay away from people who are sick with respiratory infections.
  • Reduce your exposure to allergens like dust mites, animal dander, pollen, mold, and cockroaches

Stop Smoking Cigarettes/Tobacco

Giving up cigarette smoking is important for any pregnant woman. Smoking may worsen asthma and harms the health of the growing fetus as well.


Regular exercise is important to health. Talk to your doctor for the best advice about exercising during pregnancy. Swimming is a great exercise for people with asthma. Using quick-relief medicine 10 to 15 minutes before exercise may help you tolerate recommended exercise.

Smoking While Pregnant Ups Baby’s Asthma Risk

Asthma and pregnancy

Smoking’s Asthma Legacy Can Linger for Generations, Says Study

April 11, 2005 — Women who quit smoking before pregnancy could help their future grandchildren avoid asthma.

“If a woman smokes while she is pregnant, both her children and her grandchildren may be more likely to have asthma as a result,” says Frank Gilliland, MD, PhD, in a news release.

About 11% of pregnant women in the U.S. smoked while pregnantwomen in the U.S. smoked while pregnant in 2002, says the CDC. That’s 38% less than in 1990.

If that trend continues — and Gilliland’s findings are confirmed — future generations might have a lower asthma risk as a result.

“As a public health matter, a woman who smokes should be encouraged to quit smoking, and it is especially important that it occur as soon as she is known to be pregnant,” write Gilliland and colleagues in the April issue of Chest.

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Magnitude Of Effect Of Msp On Asthma Increase

It is well documented that asthma incidence is increased by MSP . Birth cohort studies have found asthma incidence to be higher in mothers who smoked during pregnancy . A recent meta-analysis reported MSP to significantly increase asthma risk in children of all age groups . The authors found pooled odds ratios of 14 studies showed an increase in wheeze in children aged 2years and younger ), an increase in asthma risk in children aged 2years and younger ) and the risk of asthma in children aged 518years was significantly increased ) .

Maternal second-hand smoke exposure during pregnancy also significantly increases the asthma risk in preschool children ) and in school children ) .

How To Stop Smoking When Pregnant

Stopping smoking in pregnancy at any time has a positive impact on your babys life as well as your own. The sooner you stop, the more it benefits you and your baby .

Research shows that more women quit smoking when theyre pregnant than at other time in their lives. Up to 45% of women who smoked before they got pregnant suddenly stopped ahead of their first antenatal appointment .

Pregnant women who smoke during pregnancy are referred to a specialist midwife or stop smoking adviser for support. This will happen even if they quit up to two weeks beforehand. Support usually takes the form of one-to-one appointments to help you deal with cravings for cigarettes and other withdrawal symptoms .

If your partner or close family members also smoke, they can support you by joining you in giving up. This can really help boost your motivation to quit. Because its so important you both stop, they should be given support too .

Your midwife and GP will be very supportive if you decide to stop smoking. There are several other sources from where you can get help and support, including:

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Pathophysiology Of Msp Exposure On The Fetus

The effect of MSP can be divided in those effects caused directly by the toxins in utero and by indirect effects via the damage caused in the placental unit.

Smoking causes damage of the feto-placental unit these detrimental effects are already seen early in the course of pregnancy. Thickening of the basement membrane, increase of tissue and morphological changes in the placenta are seen in the first trimester , and decreased vascularisation results in nutrient delivery decrease . The reduced nutrient supply is likely to be the reason for the increase in the occurrence of growth restriction in MSP, which was recently reported as adjusted odds ratio of 1.9 and smoking accounted for 13.9% of the cases of growth restriction occurring in the population with a doseresponse relationship older pregnant women and those with a previous history of preterm delivery have an increased susceptibility .

Another effect is premature ageing of the lungs also documented in animal models. Here, a combination of reduced glycolysis and AMP increase induces cell death . Furthermore, glucose is an essential source of energy in lung tissue and it has been shown that nicotine results in sustained suppression of glycogenolysis and glycolysis in lung tissue . A study showed glucose levels to be significantly lower in lungs of rat offspring exposed to nicotine in utero and also during lactation .

The Role Of Epigenetic Programing

Heath From Nature

Programing is a term used to describe an altered phenotype due to changes in the in utero environment. Epigenetic programing describes stable inheritable phenotypic changes without the alteration in the DNA sequence. Such a process controls mRNA expression and protein production through changing the transcriptome, including DNA methylation and histone modifications. Mounting evidence has closely linked asthma to epigenetic programing due to intrauterine environmental changes. For example, asthma is also an inheritable disease . The parent-of-origin effect which is usually due to epigenetic mechanism, also shows a prominent influence on the development of asthma, e.g., asthmatic mothers are more likely to have offspring with asthma than the asthmatic fathers . As mitochondrial DNA is 100% inherited from the mothers, epigenetic modification of this genome may largely contribute to this phenomenon. In addition, the fetal period is a vulnerable stage and thus very sensitive to environmental toxicant exposure, when maternal protection is vital. During embryogenesis, cells divide rapidly and therefore the genome is in a relatively unstable status. During this period, oxidative stress induced by environmental toxicant exposure may easily interrupt genomic duplication process , leading to abnormal epigenetic modifications or even mutation, rendering the fetus susceptible to future chronic diseases after birth, such as asthma.

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Emergency Department Management Of Asthma Exacerbations During Pregnancy

Recent data from a relatively small retrospective study of 39 women showed that pregnant women with asthma were less likely to be prescribed OCS at the time of exacerbation than nonpregnant women with asthma and where OCS were not prescribed at the first medical encounter, there was a delay in their prescription of 5.8days . OCS were prescribed during 87.5% of first-trimester exacerbations but only 70.6% of second-trimester and 66.7% of third-trimester exacerbations. While this may indicate an increasing reluctance to prescribe steroids as pregnancy progresses, it is possible that the severity of exacerbations in the third trimester was different from exacerbations earlier in pregnancy. This study also found that pregnant women were equally likely to fill their OCS prescription in the community after exacerbation as the nonpregnant women , implying that the change in OCS use in pregnancy may be more related to prescribing habits than reduced use by pregnant women themselves, consistent with studies performed in the emergency department setting.


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