FRIDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Children who are exposed to maternal smoking during pregnancy, but not in their first year of life, have an increased likelihood of developing wheeze and asthma at age 4 to 6 years, according to a study published online Aug. 17 in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.
Åsa Neuman, M.D., from the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, and colleagues used pooled data from eight European birth cohorts involving 21,600 children to examine the effect of maternal smoking during pregnancy on preschool age wheeze and asthma.
The researchers found that 735 children were exposed to maternal smoking during pregnancy, but not in their first year. After adjustment for sex, parental education, parental asthma, birth weight, and siblings, maternal smoking during pregnancy correlated with wheeze and asthma at age 4 to 6 years (adjusted odds ratio, 1.39 and 1.65, respectively). There was a significantly increased likelihood of developing wheeze and asthma in a linear dose-dependent manner, which correlated with maternal daily cigarette consumption during the first trimester.
"Maternal smoking during pregnancy appears to increase the risk of wheeze and asthma also among children who are not exposed to maternal smoking after birth," the authors write. "Policy makers should be aware of the important role of motivating tobacco smoking teenage girls and young women to stop before getting pregnant to prevent asthma in their children."
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