Cigarette smoking in pregnancy: Associations with maternal weight gain and fetal growth

Lancet. 1976 Feb 21;1(7956):385-7. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(76)90215-4.


1159 mother-infant "pairs" have been studied to examine the inter-relationship of cigarette smoking in the latter half of pregnancy, maternal weight gain, and fetal growth. Non-smokers gained significantly more weight than heavy smokers (greater than 15 cigarettes per day) while light-to-moderate smokers (1-14 cigarettes a day) were intermediate. Birth-weight, length, and head circumference of the infants showed a similar gradient with infants born to non-smokers being heavier, longer, and with larger head circumferences than those born to heavy smokers. Co-variance analysis showed that a large part of the effect of maternal smoking is mediated through maternal weight gain with only a very small additional direct effect on the fetus. This suggests that increasing weight gain in smoking mothers might prevent some of the harmful effects of smoking on fetal growth. A randomised controlled trial of diet supplementation of smoking mothers would seem justified.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Birth Weight*
  • Body Height
  • Body Weight*
  • Cephalometry
  • Female
  • Fetus / physiology*
  • Growth
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Maternal Age
  • Maternal-Fetal Exchange
  • Pregnancy*
  • Sex Factors
  • Sex Ratio
  • Smoking*