Moms-to-be have one more good reason not to smoke. According to a recent study researchers find smoking during the early months of pregnancy increases the risk of having a baby with a cleft lip.
The study, involved women from Scotland and England who were interviewed when their babies were about six months old. Researchers asked about the mother's smoking habits before and during pregnancy, including how many cigarettes she smoked and whether she was exposed to secondhand tobacco smoke. The study was conducted between 1997 and 2000.
Researchers found women who smoked during the first three months of pregnancy were more likely to have a baby with a cleft lip occurring with or without a cleft palate. While the increased risk was small, researchers say it was still significant. The study also showed a trend toward more cleft lips in the infants of women exposed to secondhand smoke, but the researchers could not make a firm connection between the two. Given the emotional and physical trauma experienced by children with these deformities and the significant costs associated with repairing the problem.
Thus researchers say their findings point to a need for greater public awareness of the link between cleft lip and smoking while pregnant.