Aim: To assess whether smoking in pregnancy influences neurodevelopmental outcome at 2-years of age in preterm infants with a gestational age <32 weeks.
Methods: Between January 2003 and December 2005 we prospectively enrolled 181 infants born alive between 23 and 32 weeks of gestation; 142 infants (78.5%) completed the follow-up visit. The association between candidate risk factors and delayed motor or mental development (Bayley Scales of Infant Development II; psychomotor or mental developmental index <85) was analysed by means of logistic regression analysis.
Results: Low maternal age, smoking in pregnancy, low gestational age, low birth weight, small for gestational age, chronic lung disease, intracerebral haemorrhage, periventricular leucomalacia, and retinopathy of prematurity (stages 3 and 4) all were associated with an increased risk for delayed development (p < 0.05, each). Smoking in pregnancy, small for gestational age and chronic lung disease maintained significance in a multivariable analysis.
Conclusion: Smoking in pregnancy emerged as a risk predictor for adverse neurodevelopmental outcome in our study. Strategies to reduce smoking in pregnancy should be further endorsed.