Researchers from the University of California suggest that smoking while pregnant could lead to severe asthma conditions in children during the adolescent period.
The study conducted had researchers analyzing about 2,500 Hispanic and black children between the ages 8 and 17 years old. It was noted that children who had uncontrollable asthma most likely had mothers who smoked while conceiving.
Sam Oh from the UCSF Center for Tobacco Research and Education and one of the study authors claimed that risks for asthma increase by about 50% for children born from smoking mothers. “If women smoked while pregnant, their children had about a 50 percent increase in uncontrolled asthma, even when we controlled for current tobacco exposure. Kids who are 17 years old still show the effects of something they were exposed to during the first nine months of life.”
There were two possible reasons presented why such condition occurs. It could be that the fetus’ lungs were damaged by the use of tobacco by their mothers or genetic changes happened due to exposure of the infants to tobacco smoke.
Acute asthma diagnosis in children happens when regular medications are not effective against the condition which leads to more frequent asthma attacks.
Study proponents also took note of the time of tobacco exposure. Results showed that whether the infant was exposed at the first, second, or third trimester of pregnancy does not matter as much as to whether their mothers smoked at all. The longer the mother smoked, the more likely that the child will develop symptoms of asthma.
In the United States, most smoking mothers belong to the ethnic minorities and blacks and Hispanics have significantly higher rates of asthma compared to the rest of the US population.
The full details of the study can be found in the upcoming issue of the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology.