Despite Risks of Obesity, Study Finds Quitting Cigarettes Still Should Be a Priority for Pregnant Women

Quitting cigarettes is associated with excessive weight gain, particularly when the quitter is going through their initial period of nicotine withdrawal. Excessive weight gain among pregnant women is connected to complications for both the parent and child. Despite the concern that a pregnant woman will gain excessive weight after quitting cigarettes, a new study from Rutgers University has found the benefits of quitting far outweigh the health complications that could arise from maternal obesity.

The study reviewed data from 22 million pregnancies among women who were nonsmokers, habitual smokers, and smokers who quit once they learned they were pregnant. Hypertension disorders were most prevalent among quitters, and even more so among quitters who exceeded standard weight-gain recommendations for pregnancy. However, quitting smoking was associated with a more than 80 percent reduction in stillbirths; nonsmokers and quitters stillbirth rate was 0.4 percent, compared to 2.3 percent among smokers. Nonsmokers and quitters were also significantly less likely to experience a preterm delivery.

The authors believe their findings provide evidence to continue to advocate for pregnant women to give up smoking. They encourage doctors to advise their patients to quit smoking upon learning they are pregnant and provide them with appropriate nutrition-based counseling.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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