Israeli scientists have found that pregnant women who smoke are 50 percent more likely to develop gestational diabetes, which can lead to abnormally large babies.
To reach their findings, which were published in Obstetrics & Gynaecology, the Hebrew University team studied data from 222,000 US pregnancies from 2009-15 of which more than five percent developed Gestational Diabetes Mellitus (GDM).
It is well-known that smoking while pregnant increases the risk of premature birth, low birth weight and developmental delays, but a team led by Dr Yael Bar-Zeev in Jerusalem last week shed new light on the GDM-smoking link.
They found that female smokers who did not cut down during pregnancy were nearly 50 percent more likely to develop GDM. Those who cut down during pregnancy but did not stop still had a 22 percent higher risk than women who never smoked or who quit smoking two years before they became pregnant.
“Ideally women should quit smoking before they try to become pregnant,” Bar-Zeev said. “Due to the high risks involved, it’s imperative that pregnant smokers have access to pregnancy-specific smoking cessation programmes.”