Do you or a loved one smoke? Were you exposed to firsthand or secondhand cigarette smoke while pregnant? Was your child born with a heartbreaking birth defect? The two may be linked! A new study released this month entitled "Maternal Smoking in Pregnancy and Birth Defects" and written by researchers from European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology has definitively linked smoking to certain birth defects after the researchers conducted the first comprehensive review of past scientific studies on the matter. The birth defects identified include: heart defects, limb defects, digit anomalies, facial abnormalities, such as cleft lip or cleft palate, eye defects and gastrointestinal defects such as gastroschisis and umbilical hernias.
According to an article on the study by Melanie Rosen of Parenting.com, the research team reviewed observational studies published between 1959 and 2010 including 101 research studies. The researchers' systematic review of this past data also showed that women who smoked were more likely to have children with more or one birth defect.
Need more reasons to quit smoking? Another study published this week by the American Academy of Pediatrics demonstrated that children exposed to secondhand smoke at home have a 50% increased risk of developing two or more childhood neurobehavioral disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) than children not exposed to smoke within the home.
The study, conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the Tobacco Free Research Institute in Dublin, Ireland, analyzed 2007 data from the CDC and the National Center for Health Statistics. The researchers estimated that "nearly 5 million children younger than 12 are exposed to secondhand smoke at home and up to 8% of them suffer from learning disabilities like ADHD and other behavioral disorders".
In addition, researchers found that children exposed to second hand smoke are more likely to receive behavioral counseling and that about 4.8 million American children under 12 years old live in homes with a smoker and are being exposed to dangerous levels of secondhand smoke every day.
If you're a smoker and are pregnant or have children, I urge to consider the data published in these two studies. Smoking may not only cause birth defects in newborns, but also be a cause of sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, and respiratory infections. If you think that you were exposed to a large amount of secondhand smoke during pregnancy and your child was born with a birth defect, I urge you to call me toll free at 866-889-6882 to discuss the legal options available to you.