A new study has revealed that smoking even just one cigarette per day during pregnancy can double the risk of a new born baby’s death. Many people already talk about smoking as a leading case of preventable deaths in the US and it is less appreciated that some of those deaths are new born babies. Researchers have so far not able to fully understand why cigarettes increase the risk of infant death but they think that it surely has something to do with the effect of nicotine on the brain regions that interfere with the sleeping and breathing patterns of the baby.
Smoking is also known to restrict the blood flow that carries vital oxygen as well as nutrients between the mother and the child. When smoking kills, it can happen quickly. It has been observed that 3,600 babies in the US have died a sudden death for unknown reasons. Such unexpected deaths have a term known as the SUID or the sudden unexpected infant deaths of which the SIDS is the most well known type.
Researchers in a new study of pediatrics have estimated that if the expectant mothers would quit smoking they can prevent 800 of such deaths. For the research a collaboration was made between Microsoft and the Seattle Children’s Research Institute, where the researchers analysed national vital statistics data from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on the 20 million US births and more than 19,000 cases of sudden infant death that had occurred between 2007 and 2011. A computational model was built by Microsoft to look at how the deaths correlated with the maternal smoking behavior while controlling for a variety of potential confounding factors or other variables that might have explained the increase in the sudden deaths of infants.
To be specific, the researchers discovered that any smoking during pregnancy which can include even a single cigarette was associated with a doubling of risk of a newborn baby dying suddenly in his/her sleep.
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