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VitC might help protect foetuses of smoking women


Active Member
Sep 10, 2004
Any woman who smokes knows that she should quit when she gets pregnant, but some women simply cannot or will not kick the habit, despite the known health risks to themselves and their fetuses.

About 12 percent of women keep smoking during pregnancy, despite public health campaigns and warnings from their doctors, leading to more than 450,000 smoke-exposed infants born each year in the United States, according to federal health statistics.

Those babies are at risk for premature delivery, growth retardation and death. Five percent to 10 percent of all fetal and neonatal deaths are blamed on smoking during pregnancy. Maternal smoking also can cause decreased pulmonary function and increased respiratory illness in offspring.

Now, researchers at Oregon Health & Science University have found that high doses of vitamin C may have the potential to counteract some of the negative effects that smoking has on unborn babies. They caution that their findings should not be construed to suggest that it's OK to smoke while pregnant.

"The single most important thing is for pregnant women to stop smoking," said Dr. Eliot Spindel, senior scientist in the neuroscience division at OHSU's Oregon National Primate Center and one of the study's authors.

"While this research finding may assist the babies of (smoking) mothers, it does not make smoking during pregnancy more acceptable," he said. "It would only become a last resort treatment when an expectant mother is unwilling to stop smoking."

Nicotine, he said, is "incredibly addictive," and some women want to quit but can't.

The OHSU research, published Sunday in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, studied three small groups of infant rhesus monkeys.

Seven monkeys were born to mothers who received 2-milligram doses of nicotine daily, comparable with those of a smoking mother.

The breathing abilities and lung development of those monkeys were compared with seven monkeys born to mothers who had received both nicotine and 250-milligram doses of vitamin C daily during pregnancy. A third group of six monkeys received neither nicotine nor vitamin C and was studied as a control group.

The researchers found that animals exposed to nicotine before birth had reduced air flow in the lungs, compared with animals given nicotine and vitamin C, Spindel said.

Monkeys given nicotine and vitamin C had lung air flow close to that of a normal animal, he said.

Researchers also observed that increased levels of a protein called surfactant apoprotein B normally caused by nicotine were reduced by vitamin C.

I quit when i was pregnant with Kyle and is was born with slight asthma, I smoked all of the way through Chloe and she didn't get anything. So i rebelled and started smoking again but didn't enjoy it anymore so quit again. Its been 2 and half years now and i fell great