Prenatal Smoking Affects Heart Development in Children
Does smoking during pregnancy alter the vascular structure of children at 5 years of age?
The study, "Parental Smoking and Vascular Damage in Their Five-Year-Old Children," in the January 2012 issue of Pediatrics examined 259 children; 6 percent of their mothers smoked during pregnancy. At 5 years of age, these children showed thickening and stiffening of the carotid and artery walls, which is an indicator of cardiovascular disease risk in adulthood. The study used data from the WHISTLER-Cardio study and was conducted through parental surveys. Ultrasound scans of the vascular structure were performed on the children of participating parents. Children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy had carotid artery walls that were 18.8 µm thicker than children of non-smoking mothers.
The authors suggest that smoking by mothers during pregnancy leads to vascular damage in their children.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics