Smoking May Be Risk Factor for Infant Colic
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Women who smoke at least 15 cigarettes a day during pregnancy or shortly after birth may be twice as likely to have a fussy and seemingly inconsolable baby than women who do not smoke, the results of a study suggest.
The findings, published in the August issue of Pediatrics, support previous studies demonstrating a link between smoking after birth and infant colic. While studies have not looked closely at the relationship between smoking during pregnancy and colic, smoking is known to affect the fetal growth and later health of a child, the researchers note.
Neither a mother's age, marital status, alcohol and caffeine intake, breast feeding habits, the child's birth weight, nor a father's smoking habits affected the risk of infantile colic. Colic is defined as prolonged bouts of crying or irritability that occur more than 3 days a week for more than 3 weeks and have no known cause.
``Our study indicates that maternal smoking during pregnancy or in the postpartum period increases the risk of infantile colic,'' according to Dr. Charlotte Sondergaard from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, and colleagues. ``Ante- and postnatal care that includes advice of smoking cessation is important and also might be important for preventing infantile colic.''
In an interview with Reuters Health, Sondergaard suggested that maternal smoking may affect the baby's gastrointestinal tract or irritate the upper respiratory airway in a way that raises the risk of colic. She stressed, however, that the study did not examine how smoking, either during pregnancy or postnatally, affects the baby.
The study results are based on interviews with more than 1,800 women conducted during the 16th and 30th week of pregnancy and again 8 months after delivery.
Women were asked about smoking and other lifestyle factors. About 30% of women were smokers of which 6% were heavy smokers. Overall, about 11% of infants had colic.