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Maternal Smoking Linked to Delayed Embryonic Development

Periconceptional maternal smoking of ≥10 cigarettes/day showed strongest link, reflected by 0.9-day delay in reaching final Carnegie stage

FRIDAY, March 4, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Periconceptional maternal smoking is associated with delayed embryonic morphological development, according to a study published online Feb. 23 in Human Reproduction.

Carsten S. Pietersma, from the University Medical Center in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues examined whether periconceptional maternal smoking is associated with embryonic morphological development in 689 women with ongoing singleton pregnancy who were enrolled periconceptionally in a prospective cohort study between 2010 and 2018.

The researchers observed an association for maternal periconceptional smoking, represented by the number of cigarettes/day, with a slight, nonsignificant delay of the Carnegie stages. The strongest association was seen with smoking ≥10 cigarettes/day (β = −0.352), which was reflected by a 0.9-day delay in reaching the final Carnegie stage. A stronger negative association was seen in the in vitro fertilization (IVF)/intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) group compared with naturally conceived pregnancies. Periconceptional smoking of ≥10 cigarettes/day was associated with a 1.6-day delay in reaching the final Carnegie stage in the IVF/ICSI group (β = −0.510). Periconceptional smoking was associated with smaller femur length and larger head circumference in the second trimester. There was also an association noted for smoking with lower birth weight, with a dose-response effect.

“The results of this study emphasize the importance of smoking cessation prior to conception and that efforts to help women stop smoking should focus on this time window,” a coauthor said in a statement.

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