Variations in cotinine levels in smokers during and after pregnancy

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1998 Mar;178(3):568-71. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(98)70440-5.


Objective: To compare the antenatal and postnatal cotinine levels in smoking women after controlling for the differences in smoking practices.

Study design: A paired comparison of two measurements of cotinine concentration was conducted in 40 smoking women voluntarily recruited in a prenatal education program held in La Fe Hospital, Valencia, Spain, during 1990 and 1991. Cotinine concentration was assayed by gas chromatography in samples of saliva obtained during and after pregnancy. The Wilcoxon matched-pairs test and multiple linear regression analysis were used.

Results: The cotinine per cigarette ratio during pregnancy (median 3.53 ng/ml per cigarette) was significantly lower than the ratio in the postnatal testing (median 9.87 ng/ml per cigarette). This difference persisted after allowing for differences in reported cigarette consumption.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that the available equivalencies between cotinine level and nicotine intake obtained from adult nonpregnant populations cannot be directly applied during pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cotinine / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Postpartum Period / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy / metabolism*
  • Pregnancy Trimester, Third
  • Regression Analysis
  • Saliva / metabolism
  • Smoking / metabolism*
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Cotinine