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Smoking fathers increase the risk of congenital heart defects in their children

Smoking fathers increase the risk of congenital heart defects in their children



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How does fathers' smoking affect their children?

Smoking is unhealthy, this should be clear to everyone by now. But how does it affect children when expectant fathers smoke? Chinese researchers have now found that smoking fathers increase the risk of congenital heart defects in their offspring.

A recent study by the Central South University in Changsha found that fathers smoking increased the risk of congenital heart defects in their offspring. The results of the study were published in the English-language journal "European Journal of Preventive Cardiology".

Mothers should avoid contact with smoke

Expecting fathers should definitely stop smoking so as not to harm their future child, the research team warns. Expectant mothers should not smoke themselves and avoid contact with second-hand smoke (secondhand smoke). Both are harmful not only to the health of the mother, but also to that of her unborn child. Fathers are a common source of passive smoking in pregnant women, which seems to be even more harmful for unborn children than if affected women smoke themselves, the researchers explain.

Smoking can lead to malformations in development

Congenital heart defects are the main cause of stillbirth and affect eight out of 1,000 babies born worldwide. The prognosis and quality of life continue to improve with innovative operations, but the effects remain for life. Smoking is teratogenic, which means that it can lead to malformations in development. The relationship between smoking parents and the risk of congenital heart defects in their children is attracting increasing attention, the researchers from China say.

Previous studies have focused on women who smoke

This was the first meta-analysis to examine the relationships between father smoking, passive smoking of the mother and the risk of congenital heart defects in offspring. Previous analyzes have focused on smokers. However, there are more expecting smoking fathers and passive smoking pregnant women than pregnant women who smoke.

Where did the data come from in the study?

The researchers compiled the available data by June 2018. These came from 125 studies with 137,574 babies with congenital heart defects and 8.8 million potential parents.

Extremely increased risk from passive smoking?

All types of parent smoking were associated with the risk of congenital heart defects in the offspring. The risk increased by 74 percent when fathers-to-be smoked. If mothers-to-be smoked passively, this increased the risk of congenital heart defects in their unborn children by 124 percent.

Passive smoke risk ran through all stages of pregnancy

This was also the first study to examine smoking at various stages of pregnancy and the risk of congenital heart defects. The contact of women with second-hand smoke (passive smoke) was risky for their offspring in all stages of pregnancy and even before pregnancy. Women who smoked during pregnancy were more likely to have a child with a congenital heart defect, but smoking before pregnancy did not affect the risk, the researchers explain.

If you are planning to become pregnant, stop smoking

Women should quit smoking before trying to conceive to ensure that they are smoke-free when pregnancy occurs. It is also important for expectant mothers to avoid passive smoking. If people want to have children, they should be aware of the potential dangers of smoking for their unborn child. (as)

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