Monday, 15 Oct, 2007 Health & Fitness

Mothers-to-be Smoking Results in 90 % of Cot Deaths


Nine out of ten cot deaths are related to female smoking during pregnancy, as showed by a major study. The scientists found out that smoking expectant women are four times more likely to have their baby die from cot death than non-smokers.

The report, provided by the Bristol University's institute of child life and health , asks the Government to ban mothers-to-be from buying cigarettes.

The authors of the report claim that smoking when pregnant women and children are nearby is dangerous and unacceptable and should be avoided. Ministers are considering whether to rewrite their advice on smoking for expectant women.

The scientists made their conclusion, having analyzed the evidence provided by 21 international studies on smoking and SIDS - sudden infant death syndrome. According to them, the evidence suggests that smoking is one of the most frequent causes of SIDS and if parents broke off the bad habit, it would prevent more than 60 per cent of cot deaths.

In Britain 300 babies at the age of one - four months die of cot death every year. The report suggests the Government should emphasize the adverse effects smoking causes to babies and pregnant women. Parents should be well aware of the fact that risk of sudden infant death is greatly increased by prenatal and postnatal tobacco smoking. The scientists believe that a lot of mother-to-be ignore the risks of smoking. They say smoking effects brain chemicals in the foetus, and hinders the proper development of the lungs.

The current Government advice on smoking suggests only that mothers and fathers should 'cut smoking in pregnancy' and avoid sharing a bed with their child.

A group of doctors has recently called for a ban on parents smoking indoors when their children are around. During the past 15 years, the number of smoking expectant women has dropped from 30 to 20 per cent. Still, the percentage of cot deaths related to smoking mothers has grown from 57 per cent in 1984 to 86 per cent in 2003.

The scientists suggest the Government must achieve a 'smoke-free zone' around expectant women and children. The risk of SIDS will be considerably reduced by the reduction of prenatal and postnatal exposure to tobacco smoke, implying reducing smoking in pregnancy, and avoiding smoking at home.

According to a spokesman for the Department of Health, they are studying the report and considering whether to change their advice.

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