In women who stopped smoking before 15 weeks’ gestation, rates of spontaneous preterm birth and small for gestational age infants did not differ from those in non-smokers, indicating that these severe adverse effects of smoking may be reversible if smoking is stopped early in pregnancy.
It’s known that smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, premature birth, small babies, stillbirth and neonatal death, but no study until now has determined whether stopping smoking in early pregnancy reduces the risks of small babies and premature births, the study authors said.
“Pregnant women who smoke should be encouraged and assisted to become smoke-free early in pregnancy,” said lead researcher Dr. Lesley McCowan, an associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
The study also found that women who stopped smoking WERE NOT more stressed than women who continued to smoke, McCowan noted.
“Health professionals who care for pregnant women need to ask about smoking, advise about the importance of stopping, and, where possible, refer for extra support early in pregnancy to assist women to become smoke-free,” she advised.