Intended for healthcare professionals


Smoking in pregnancy slows growth of baby's head

BMJ 2007; 334 doi: (Published 08 March 2007) Cite this as: BMJ 2007;334:499
  1. Roger Dobson
  1. Abergavenny

    The heads of fetuses of women who smoke during pregnancy grow less than those of fetuses whose mothers don't smoke, a study concludes. But mothers who give up smoking as soon as their pregnancy is confirmed have babies whose head circumference grows as much as those of women who never smoke during pregnancy, it says.

    With the help of ultrasound images taken during pregnancy, the researchers found that the circumference of the heads of fetuses of women who smoked throughout pregnancy grew half a millimetre less a week during late pregnancy than those of non-smokers. Femur lengths and abdominal circumferences also increased more slowly in the fetuses of smokers, …

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