A systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies on the association between maternal cigarette smoking and preterm delivery

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2000 Feb;182(2):465-72. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(00)70240-7.


We have attempted to quantify the most up-to-date estimate of the association between cigarette smoking by the mother and preterm delivery. Studies were selected for inclusion in this review if they were prospective, reported data stratified across at least two levels of maternal smoking, and defined preterm delivery on the basis of gestational age. In a meta-analysis we combined results from multiple studies that reported on preterm delivery and maternal smoking during pregnancy. Pooled odds ratios were computed for various strata of smoking intensity with the Mantel-Haenszel fixed-effects model. Twenty studies met all inclusion criteria and were included in meta-analysis. The pooled point estimate from 20 prospective studies on any maternal smoking versus no maternal smoking was 1.27 (95% confidence interval, 1.21-1.33). Subgroup analyses stratifying maternal smoking on number of cigarettes per day suggest a dose-response relationship at low to moderate levels of smoking, which was not further increased at high levels of smoking. A nonsignificant level of publication bias appears to exist in the smoking-preterm delivery literature. Cigarette smoking is a preventable risk factor that is associated with preterm delivery. Consistent results across many study populations and research designs and evidence of a dose-response relationship support its causal role in preterm delivery.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / etiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Smoking / adverse effects*