Effects of maternal tobacco-smoke exposure on fetal growth and neonatal size

Expert Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Nov 1;3(6):719-730. doi: 10.1586/17474108.3.6.719.


Exposure to tobacco smoke, through both active and passive measures, has a significant impact on women's health, including effects on the cardiovascular, pulmonary and reproductive systems. Of particular interest is the effect of smoking on pregnancy outcomes. One crucial outcome that has been linked to the subsequent development of both neonatal and adult disease is intrauterine or fetal growth restriction. In this article, we will summarize the effects of smoking on newborn size and fetal growth. We will review evidence showing that tobacco consumption during pregnancy leads to a reduction in birthweight, largely through affecting specific anthropometric measures and newborn body composition. We will highlight the role of genetic susceptibility to these effects and discuss how smoking cessation prior to the third trimester results in a reduction in the risk of fetal growth restriction.