Babies are more likely to have colic when their mothers smoked or used nicotine replacement therapy during pregnancy, according to research just published in the journal Pediatrics. A significantly increased risk of infantile colic—ranging from 30 to 60 percent—was associated with prenatal nicotine exposure in the study of more than 63,000 mothers in the Danish National Birth Cohort.
As difficult as a bout of colic can be, tobacco’s effects of a fetus are worse. Smoking during pregnancy is associated with babies of low birth weight, which can affect lifetime growth and development. Smoking is also associated with spontaneous abortion, stillbirth and sudden infant death syndrome.
Obstetricians in the United States don’t usually prescribe nicotine replacement therapy (like patches of gum) for pregnant women. The Center of Tobacco Control can help expectant mothers overcome nicotine addiction with counseling, behavioral therapy or hypnosis.
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