We’ve known for a long time about how smoking can cause premature birth, low birthweight babies, and other problems for your child. According to some recent research, however, if you’re carrying a girl there may be additional risks that she will face later in life because you chose to smoke while you were pregnant.
How your smoking can impact your daughter’s pregnancies
According to a study of over 70,000 women that was conducted in Norway, whether or not a woman smokes during pregnancy can then have an impact when her daughter becomes pregnant.
Daughters of women who smoked while pregnant where at a higher risk of a number of problems duing their own pregnancies, including:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Excessive weight gain leading to obesity
- Gestational diabetes
This isn’t the first time that a connection has been made with high blood pressure and obesity. It’s been shown in other studies that smoking during pregnancy can cause your child to have trouble with hypertension and obesity. This is the first time, however, that gestational diabetes has been connected to maternal smoking.
Significant risk for gestational diabetes
Researchers discovered that women who indicated that their mothers smoked when pregnant were about 1.3 times as likely to develop gestational diabetes while they themselves were pregnant. The increased risk for high blood pressure and for obesity were measurable, as well.
What’s even more interesting (and disturbing, if you smoke during pregnancy or know someone who does) is that women whose mothers smoked while pregnant were actually twice as likely to have any two of the three conditions as women whose mothers didn’t smoke during pregnancy.
Lifelong and generational impact
Smoking during pregnancy affects your health. It affects the health of your baby, too. What this study tells us is that smoking during pregnancy can actually affect your baby down the road when she becomes pregnant, potentially causing health risks for your grandchildren. Smoking, then, is a generational problem.
If you’re pregnant and smoking, quit. There are programs out there that can help you quit. Talk to your doctor about quitting, and keep at it until you succeed.