SIDS Risk Doubles If Mom Smoked in Pregnancy

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They found that if women abstained from smoking during pregnancy, it would lower the SUID rates by 22 percent.

"Using A.I., we built machine learning models that analyzed millions of pieces of data on child births and deaths, including mothers' smoking histories, allowing us to do something that was not done before: assess the impact that each additional cigarette has on SUID at this level of granularity", he said.

A new study finds dire statistics for women who smoke while pregnant: Even one cigarette a day doubles your baby's risk of sudden unexpected infant death.

The risk was highest among heavier smokers. Quitting smoking was associated with a 23 per cent reduction in the risk.

"The most important takeaway is for women to understand that quitting smoking before and during pregnancy by far results in the greatest reduction in SUID risk", Anderson said.

More than 3,700 USA infants up to 12 months old die each year of sleep-related causes like sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) or accidental suffocation and strangulation in bed or other unknown causes, researchers report in Pediatrics.

Smoking during pregnancy increases SUID risk

To see how smoking while pregnant affected the likelihood of SUID, the researchers examined data from almost 20 million births between 2007 and 2011 while also taking into consideration mothers' smoking habits.

Females who reduced smoking in the third trimester experienced a 12 percent decrease in the risk of SUID.

"With this information, doctors can better counsel pregnant women about their smoking habits, knowing that the number of cigarettes smoked daily during pregnancy significantly impacts the risk for SUID", said author Dr. Tatiana Anderson.

The study wasn't a controlled experiment created to prove whether or how smoking causes SUID.

Researchers also estimated that 800 deaths of the 3,700 total SUIDs every year in the USA could be prevented if women abstained from smoking during pregnancy.

The harmful effects of smoking are not unknown. Moving forward, the team hopes these results inspire lawmakers to get women the support and encouragement they need to quit smoking before becoming pregnant. In fact, some studies have shown that smoking is the "strongest prenatal modifiable risk factor for SIDS in industrialized nations", according to the study. Smoking by mothers, fathers and anyone else around pregnant women and babies may increase not just the risk of SUID but also childhood asthma and respiratory illnesses, Goodstein added.

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