Women who smoke while pregnant run a greater risk of giving birth to a baby with limb defects. The risk seems greater among women who smoke more than 10 cigarettes a day.
Although experts have long suspected an association between smoking and limb defects in newborns, Swedish researcher Karin Kallen is the first to prove it.
She studied the records of over one million babies born to women known to have been smoking at the end of the first trimester. The group included 610 babies born with limb defects, far higher than the expected number.
It has already been established that smoking can cause reduced birth weight, preterm birth and perinatal death (Am J of Pub Hlth, 1997; 87: 29-32).