Smoking May Put Baby's DNA at Risk

Smoking cigarettes while pregnant may chemically alter fetus' DNA

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Anyssa Garza, PharmD

(RxWiki News) It's a well-known fact that smoking during pregnancy can harm the baby. Now, researchers may have a clearer picture as to why that is.

Smoking during pregnancy may alter the baby's DNA, a new study found. This could explain the health problems in babies whose mothers smoked while pregnant, said the authors of this study.

These researchers took DNA samples from 6,685 newborns from around the world. Those babies whose mothers had smoked during pregnancy showed more than 6,000 places where the DNA was modified, compared to those whose mothers hadn't smoked.

These National Institutes of Health researchers noted that the changes seen in the babies' DNA were tied to problems like smoking-related cancers, lung and nervous system development, and cleft lip and palate, among others.

Patients who need help quitting smoking should speak to a medical professional.

This study was published in the American Journal of Human Genetics. The authors disclosed no funding sources or conflicts of interest.

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Review Date: 
April 2, 2016
Last Updated:
April 4, 2016