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Smoking While Pregnant Increases Risk Of Infant Cerebral Palsy

Dorathy Gass

We are all aware of the hazards to an infant when it comes to smoking while pregnant. Still, a recent study offers even more insight around the increased chances of cerebral palsy for baby.
As per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 55% of pregnant moms who smoke quit while they are pregnant. Still, about 10% of U.S. pregnant females continue to smoke during their last three months of pregnancy. Doing so offers risks around various health problems for their babies, including: birth defects, premature birth, as well as sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Past research has also indicated that moms who smoke while pregnant increase their children’s chances around cerebral palsy; still, the underlying link have never been clear as to the ‘why’. A study conducted out the Sydney, Australia’s University of Technology, led by Dr. Hui Chen, has shed light on this recently.

A disorder that affects balance and movement, cerebral palsy occurs via damage to a developing brain. This can pop up prior to delivery, during birth, one month later, or during the early years of child’s growth. One root of the condition is that the brain does not get adequate oxygen-rich blood while nesting in the womb, this is known as hypoxia-ischemic injury (HII).
The team studied mice that were born to moms who had been exposed to smoking before and while they were pregnant. The team reviewed motor skills of the young mice and data revealed that they experienced movement issues that mirrored the same problems found in those with cerebral palsy.

Medical News Today advised that young mice that were born from the smoking moms were found to be clumsier when they hit adolescence, they were more anxious, had less limb strength, and inadequate memory function that could affect learning.

Further diving into the research, the study team discovered that movement issues within the mice increased when it came to oxidative stress, an imbalance between harmful molecules (free radicals) and antioxidants.

Lead author Dr. Chen goes into detail, stating that HII is a result of smoke exposure that does not allow mitochondria from creating adequate levels of antioxidants, thus letting free radicals gather, which creates brain cell damage.

The team noted that the results of their research provide another strong example of why mothers that are expecting should stop the bad habit. They also encouraged that the earlier they quit smoking, the better.

In fact, Dr. Chen strongly advises that those who wish to have a baby should consider breaking the bad habit of smoking well before parents plan on getting pregnant.

Just another good reason to butt out, and butt out for good!

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