Smoking during pregnancy alters fetal DNA: Study

Smoking during pregnancyThere are countless warnings against smoking during pregnancy, and yet many expecting women still reach out for a cigarette. New findings have uncovered that smoking during pregnancy can alter the DNA of the fetus in the same way it alters the DNA in smoking adults. The researchers also found new development-related genes that are affected by expecting woman’s smoking.

The researchers looked at blood samples of newborns, mainly from the umbilical cord, and compared these to samples from babies that have not been exposed to their mothers’ smoking during pregnancy. The researchers found over 6,000 spots where the DNA had been modified.
Nearly half of those locations could be linked to a specific gene that is involved in the lung and nervous system development, birth defects, and smoking-related cancers. Additionally, many of those DNA changes were still found in older children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy.


Co-senior author Stephanie London said in the new release, “I find it kind of amazing when we see these epigenetic signals in newborns, from in utero exposure, lighting up the same genes as an adult’s own cigarette smoking. There’s a lot of overlap. This is a blood-borne exposure to smoking — the fetus isn’t breathing it, but many of the same things are going to be passing through the placenta.”


Author Bio

Devon Andre has been involved in the health and dietary supplement industry for a number of years. Devon has written extensively for Bel Marra Health. He has a Bachelor of Forensic Science from the University of Windsor, and went on to complete a Juris Doctor from the University of Pittsburgh. Devon is keenly aware of trends and new developments in the area of health and wellness. He embraces an active lifestyle combining diet, exercise and healthy choices. By working to inform readers of the options available to them, he hopes to improve their health and quality of life.