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Vol. 94, No. 2, 2008
Issue release date: August 2008
Neonatology 2008;94:75–78

Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy Increases the Risk of Postnatal Infections in Preterm Neonates

Jeppesen D.L. · Nielsen S.D. · Ersbøll A.K. · Valerius N.H.
Departments of aPaediatrics and bInfectious Diseases, Copenhagen University Hospital Hvidovre, Hvidovre, and cDepartment of Large Animal Sciences, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

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Background: Maternal smoking during pregnancy is known to be associated with perinatal complications such as preterm delivery, low birth weight, and sudden infant death syndrome. Objective: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the influence of smoking during pregnancy on the risk of postnatal infections in preterm neonates. Method: We examined 80 preterm infants (gestational age 24–36 weeks), of whom 40% had been exposed to tobacco smoking during pregnancy. Results: Infections occurred in 31 infants. Gestational age and maternal smoking had a significant effect on the occurrence of infections (p < 0.001 and p = 0.015, respectively). An increase in maternal tobacco consumption by 10 cigarettes/day showed an odds ratio of 2.7 (95% confidence interval 1.1–6.4) for occurrence of infections. Conclusions: A significant association between maternal use of tobacco and the occurrence of infections in preterm neonates was found. Thus, campaigns about the damaging effects of tobacco are still warranted.

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