Tobacco

About one-third of pregnant women in the USA and Western Europe are smokers, and mothers who smoke are at increased risk for premature delivery and miscarriage. Children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy may have long-term impairments in physical growth and intellectualperformance. These adverse effects are dose-dependent - the greater the number of cigarettes smoked during pregnancy, the greater the likelihood of harm. Smoking may reduce blood flow through the placenta and restrict oxygen and nutrient flow to the fetus. Smoking can deplete maternal stores of zinc, vitamin C, vitamin B6, folate, and vitamin B12. Levels of vit-

Effects of maternal smoking on the antioxidant status of the mother and newborn Nutrient Smokers Nonsmokers

Vitamin C in umbilical-

0.61

1.68

cord blood (mg/dl)

Placental vitamin C

10.1

20.9

(mg/100 g)

Maternal plasma

0.4

0.8*

vitamin E (mg/dl)

Vitamin E in umbilical-

0.2

0.3*

cord blood (mg/dl)

Maternal plasma beta-

19

44*

carotene ( g/dl)

Beta-carotene in um-

7

(Source: Bendich A. Ann NY Acad Sci. 1993;678)

bilical-cord blood

(Source: Bendich A. Ann NY Acad Sci. 1993;678)

amins C and E in the fetus and placenta are markedly lower in women who smoke during pregnancy, compared to those who do not.

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