Expectant mothers who stop smoking around the time of getting pregnant can eliminate the heightened risk of low birthweight, premature birth and associated brain damage from tobacco, according to British research, DPA reported.
A team led by Professor Nick Macklon, from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Southampton, UK, studied data from some 50,000 pregnancies registered at the Southampton University Medical Centre between 2002 to 2010.
It found that babies from women who stopped smoking either immediately before or shortly after conceiving had a significantly higher birthweight than those from mothers who had continued to smoke.
Macklon said that babies in this group had also reached the same gestational age and head circumference as those born to mothers who had never smoked. The study, he said, gave mothers-to-be hard evidence that stopping smoking no later than in the early phase of pregnancy was beneficial for their baby.
Macklon said that low birthweight was "the most common negative outcome" of smoking during pregnancy. Pointing to long-term effects, too, he warned expectant mothers who continued to smoke because they believed that a smaller baby meant an easier birth.
"Smoking during pregnancy is not just bad for the mother and baby," Macklon said, "but for the adult it will grow into."
The findings were reported at the annual meeting of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) in Stockholm.