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Smoking During Pregnancy Increases Risk of Stroke and Heart Attack for Child


A recent study indicates that when women smoke during pregnancy, the vascular health of their children can be affected by early adulthood. Researchers have found that adult children of mothers who smoked during pregnancy had thicker walls in the carotid arteries of the neck. This thickness indicates hardening of the arteries, which increases the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Fathers who smoked during a mother's pregnancy also had an impact. When both parents smoked during a pregnancy, adult children had thicker carotid arteries than those who had only one parent who smoked.

The researchers speculate that certain elements found in tobacco smoke enter the placenta and then are able to cause direct damage to the cardiovascular system of the infant.

To read about ways to quit smoking, read our January 2007 issue of the Diabetes E-Magazine.

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