A study published in BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology finds that young men whose mothers smoked during pregnancy had lower aerobic fitness when compared to those whose mothers did not.

The Finnish study examined the impact of maternal smoking on the long-term health of male offspring. Of the 508 young men included in the study, whose average age was 19, 59 of their mothers smoked more than one cigarette a day throughout pregnancy.

The study’s results revealed that maternal smoking was associated with lower aerobic fitness of their their children, which was measured by ability on a running test at the beginning of their military service assessment. Aerobic activity was also independently connected with their own smoking status, physical activity, and weight. The results of the study also showed that higher maternal pre-pregnancy BMI and excessive weight gain during pregnancy were linked to lower aerobic fitness in the offspring.

“It’s well established that smoking and breathing in second-hand smoke are harmful for both mother and baby. Our study adds to the existing evidence base of the negative and long-standing impacts of maternal smoking,” says lead author of the study Maria Hagnäs, MD, from the University of Oulu, Finland. “Women must receive advice and support to help them stop smoking during pregnancy, as well guidance on how to maintain a healthy weight to minimize the risks to their unborn child.”

Geeta Kumar, Chair of the RCOG’s Patient Information Committee, states, “This study demonstrates the negative effect smoking in pregnancy can have on a child’s long-term health. It is important that women understand the risks of smoking in pregnancy and are aware of the support that is available to help them stop.”

Source: Science Daily