Smoking during pregnancy is an obvious no-no. It can pose serious harm to babies and their mothers. And, with smoking being a tough habit to break, some pregnant women find it extremely difficult to quit. For newborns, it can increase respiratory infections, cause childhood asthma, and affect the development and function of their lungs. A new study reveals that Vitamin C blocked some of the in-utero effects of nicotine on babies of pregnant smokers.
The study , published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), concluded that pregnant smokers who took Vitamin C supplements improved lung functioning of their offspring.“Vitamin C supplementation in pregnant smokers may be an inexpensive and simple approach (with continued smoking cessation counseling) to decrease some of the effects of smoking in pregnancy on newborn pulmonary function and ultimately infant respiratory morbidities, but further study is required," the researchers said, according to a JAMA press release.
The study assigned random pregnant smokers to take Vitamin C or placebo. One hundred and fifty-nine newborns born to pregnant smokers were studied. Non-smoking mothers were also included in the research.The results showed newborns of pregnant smokers who took the Vitamin C supplements had improved pulmonary function and had significantly decreased wheezing until the age of 1. Despite the good news of these new studies, an alarming 50 percent of pregnant mothers continue to smoke after the pregnancy. The hope is that the Vitamin C will help keep the children healthier but not smoking at all is the best solution, according to researchers.
"Although smoking cessation is the foremost goal, most pregnant smokers continue to smoke, supporting the need for a pharmacologic intervention," the authors write. The studies show that reduced pulmonary function in children of smokers can last throughout childhood and as last up until young adulthood. "This emphasizes the important opportunity of in-utero intervention. Individuals who begin life with decreased PFT measures may be at increased risk for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease," researchers said.