Objectives: Nicotine narrows uterine blood vessels reducing the flow of oxygen and nutrients to the developing fetus. This study examined the effects of fetal exposure to secondhand smoke on neonatal anthropometry. Methods: This cross sectional study recruited 128 pregnant women in the third trimester of single pregnancies who had no chronic illness, were not active or ex-smokers, and who were willing to participate in the study. Pregnant women who were exposed to secondhand smoke had umbilical cord blood nicotine concentrations of ≥ 1 ng/mL. Neonatal anthropometry was assessed according to the newborn birth weight and length. The independent t-test was used to determine the neonatal difference in mean birth weight and length between the women who were exposed to secondhand smoke, and those who were not exposed. A multiple linear regression analysis was employed to assess the effect of secondhand smoke exposure on birth weight and birth length, controlling for potential confounding variables (weight gain during pregnancy, body mass index, parity, maternal age, and maternal hemoglobin). Results: There were 35 women exposed to secondhand smoke (nicotine ≥ 1 ng/mL). Neonate birth weight and birth length were lower among mothers who were exposed to secondhand smoke. However, only neonate birth weight was significantly reduced by exposure to secondhand smoke (p = 0.005). The mean birth weight of these neonates was 2,916.5 g ± 327.3 g which was 205.6 g less than in unexposed fetuses. Conclusion: Exposure of mothers to secondhand smoke during pregnancy reduces fetal development and neonatal weight.
- Birth weight
- Secondhand smoke