Smoking during pregnancy gives women a one-in-two chance of having a baby with a failure of the upper lip or the palate, according to new research.
Latest statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre in the UK show that more than one in ten (12.7 per cent) pregnant women are smokers at delivery. Given there were 694,241 births in England in the last year, more than 54,500 babies could be at risk from a facial deformity.
Smoking during pregnancy has previously been linked to a number of health conditions, including heart defects, weight and size issues as well as lung conditions while tobacco use is also the leading cause of mouth cancer. Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, believes the research only adds to the calls for people to quit smoking. “There is a wealth of evidence to suggest smoking during pregnancy achieves nothing but putting your baby in harm’s way. When you consider there are thousands of hazardous chemicals in a single cigarette, regularly smoking poses all sorts of risks.
“Any amount of cigarette smoking during pregnancy significantly increases the risk of having a child with health problems. Cigarettes aren’t an easy thing to give up. Research has shown this. However, if cigarettes expose unborn babies to harmful chemicals caused by smoking, it is something pregnant women must ditch immediately.
Credit: British Dental Health Foundation