Background: Maternal smoking during pregnancy is associated with low fetal growth and adverse cardiometabolic health in offspring. However, hormonal pathways underlying these associations are unclear. Therefore, we examined maternal smoking habits and umbilical cord blood hormone profiles in a large, prospective cohort.
Methods: We studied 978 mother/infant pairs in Project Viva, a Boston-area cohort recruited 1999-2002. We categorized mothers as early pregnancy smokers, former smokers, or never smokers. Outcomes were cord blood concentrations of IGF-1, IGF-2, IGFBP-3, leptin, adiponectin, insulin, and C-peptide. We used linear regression models adjusted for maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI), race/ethnicity, parity, education, and infant sex. We conducted analyses in the full cohort and stratified by infant sex.
Results: Thirteen percent of women were early pregnancy smokers, 20% former smokers, and 68% never smokers. Infants of early pregnancy smokers had lower IGF-1 adjusted for IGFBP-3 [-5.2ng/mL (95% CI: -8.6, -1.7)], with more pronounced associations in girls [-10.7ng/mL (95% CI: -18.5, -2.9) vs. -4.0ng/mL (95% CI: -8.4, 0.4) for boys]. Early pregnancy smoking was not associated with cord blood hormones other than IGF-1. Infants of former smokers had a cord blood hormone profile similar to infants of never smokers.
Conclusions: As compared to mothers who never smoked, early pregnancy smokers had infants with lower cord blood IGF-1 which could prime adverse metabolic outcomes. This provides further reason to support smoking cessation programs in women of reproductive age.
Keywords: Cord blood; Hormones; Insulin-like growth factor (IGF); Pregnancy; Smoking.
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