by Sheela Philomena on  December 24, 2016 at 5:11 PM Health Watch
  • Smoking is a well-known risk factor for kidney disease in adults.
  • Maternal smoking effects on kidney health were evident in 3-year-old children.
  • Maternal smoking during pregnancy was one of the risk factors of childhood proteinuria - a sign of kidney disease.

One more addition to the list of negative effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy. Young children showed signs of kidney damage if their mothers smoked while pregnant.

Research study conducted by Koji Kawakami, MD, PhD, Maki Shinzawa, MD, PhD, and Motoko Yanagita MD, PhD (Kyoto University, in Japan) wondered whether maternal smoking during pregnancy might affect children's kidney health. The team used a database of health check-ups from pregnancy to 3 years in Japan.
 Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy Tied to Kidney Damage in Kids
Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy Tied to Kidney Damage in Kids

Presence of proteinuria (high levels of protein in the urine) was looked in urine samples from 44,595 children. Proteinuria is a sign of decreased kidney function. 4.4% of women smoked before pregnancy and 16.7% continued smoking while pregnant.

Study Results

The frequencies of proteinuria in the child at age 3 were
  • 1.7% when mothers continued to smoke during pregnancy.
  • 1.6% when mothers stopped smoking during pregnancy.
The findings from this study suggest an additional adverse effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy," said Dr. Kawakami. "Prevention of child proteinuria is important since child proteinuria can lead to development of chronic kidney disease in adulthood and ultimately end stage renal disease."

Smoking During Pregnancy

Each year over 1000 babies in the US die because their mothers smoked while pregnant.

Carbon monoxide in tobacco smoke can keep the infant from getting enough oxygen.

Smoking can cause problems for a woman trying to get pregnant or who is already pregnant and also for her baby before and after birth.

Effects on Women
  • Difficulty getting pregnant.
  • Placenta covers the cervix causing complications during labor or separates from the womb too early causing bleeding.
  • Water in the placenta breaks too early.
  • Ectopic pregnancy - pregnancy occurs outside the womb i.e. in one of the fallopian tubes.
  • Miscarriage
Effects on Babies
  • Low birth weight - smoking during pregnancy results in 20-30% of low birth weight babies.
  • Neonatal asphyxia (oxygen deprivation).
  • Risk factor for sudden infant death syndrome.
  • Perterm birth - baby born too early.
  • Birth defects like cleft lip or cleft palate, some heart defects (congenital heart defects).
Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy and Child Health

Study conducted by Ekblad et al finds that smoking during pregnancy restricts fetal body and head growth. Children exposed to prenatal smoking had alterations in brain structure.

Smoking during pregnancy is linked to having a small for gestational age (SGA) baby. SGA is a term used to describe a baby who is smaller or less developed than normal for the baby's gender and gestational age.

Quitting smoking can be hard but it is one of the best ways a woman can protect herself and her baby's health.

  1. M. Shinzawa, S. Tanaka, H. Tokumasu, D. Takada, T. Tsukamoto, M. Yanagita, K. Kawakami. Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy, Household Smoking after the Childs Birth, and Childhood Proteinuria at Age 3 Years; Journal of the American Society of Nephrology; (2016) DOI: 10.2215/CJN.05980616
  2. Tobacco and Pregnancy - (
  3. Ekblad et al. Smoking During Pregnancy Affects Foetal Brain; Acta Paediatrica;Jan 2014DOI: 10.1111/apa.12791
  4. Kvalvik LG et al. Maternal Smoking Status in Successive Pregnancies and Risk of Having a Small for Gestational Age Infant; Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology; (2016) DOI: 10.1111/ppe.12333
  5. Smoking During Pregnancy - (
Source: Medindia

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