Maternal smoking causes fetal hypoxia: experimental evidence

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1982 Jan 15;142(2):214-8. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(16)32339-0.


Cigarette smoking during pregnancy has been related to poor perinatal outcome. To investigate the changes in maternal and fetal arterial blood gases associated with smoking, five chronically catheterized pregnant rhesus monkeys were exposed to standard cigarette smoking (N = 5) and nicotine-free herbal cigarette smoke (N = 3). The only consistently reproducible and significant finding was a drop in fetal PO2. The timing of the decline in PO2 and the similar responses to standard and nicotine-free cigarette smoke make carboxyhemoglobin the most likely causative factor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Carbon Dioxide / blood*
  • Carboxyhemoglobin / metabolism
  • Female
  • Fetal Hypoxia / blood
  • Fetal Hypoxia / etiology*
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Nicotine / pharmacology
  • Oxygen / blood*
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking*
  • Stress, Physiological / metabolism


  • Carbon Dioxide
  • Nicotine
  • Carboxyhemoglobin
  • Oxygen