THURSDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Women who quit smoking
before they get pregnant may save their babies' lives, says a new
study of more than 3 million births.
Looking at the data, researchers from the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention found that smoking during pregnancy
resulted in 5 percent to 8 percent of all premature births and 13
percent to 19 percent of full-term babies with a low birth
Researchers also found that 5 percent to 7 percent of deaths
among the premature infants -- and 23 percent to 34 percent of
deaths caused by SIDS -- could have been prevented if the mother
had not smoked.
The CDC researchers examined data on 3.3 million births of
single babies across the country (with the exception of California)
during 2002. About 11.5 percent (386,000) of those babies had
mothers who smoked during pregnancy.
If all women quit smoking during pregnancy, health care costs in
the United States could be reduced by about $232 million a year and
there would be improved overall health for mothers and babies,
according to the researchers.
"We know that about half of women quit when they find out that they are pregnant, but a lot of women are still smoking during pregnancy," lead investigator Patricia Dietz said in a news release from the Center for the Advancement of Health.
"The percentage of SIDS deaths that might be avoided with smoking cessation is a significant number. For women who smoke and are considering pregnancy, we strongly recommend that they get preconception counseling for smoking cessation," Dr. Diane Ashton, deputy medical director of the March of Dimes, said in the news release.
The study appears online and in the July print issue of the
American Journal of Preventive Medicine.
The March of Dimes has more about
smoking during pregnancy.