Smoking Pregnant Women Beware! Baby’s DNA May Be a Changing
New Delhi, October 18: First the report earlier this year that smoking in Indian women are rising and now the new findings that smoking may be changing the DNA of babies inside for worse. It is really getting scarier for Indian women who are taking to smoking.
A study just published in the journal Psychoneuroendocrinology has said babies born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy may find it difficult to cope with stressors of daily life later due to an alteration in DNA of a gene that regulates passage of stress hormones from mother to fetus. The result of this study done in USA is particularly worrisome for India because smoking in Indian women is rising by the day.
So, high society Indian women, who are flaunting their baby bumps, would make their baby’s ride bumpy in life if they smoke. Dr. K.K. Aggarwal, the president of Heart Care Foundation of India, said that new study really red flags women who smoke. He said, ‘The new study shows this bad habit does impact only their own health badly; it would harm their bundles of joy too. Earlier the studies showed that smoking alters the genes of the smoker, now the new study says even baby’s genes maybe a changing if pregnant mothers smoke. Even Modern Health Guru Deepak Chopra recently in Delhi said that genes modify due to smoking.’
The findings have shown newborns of such mothers show lower levels of stress hormones and lowered stress response. The lead researcher of Laura Stroud from The Miriam Hospital in Rhode Island says, ‘Our results suggest that these newborns may not be mounting adequate hormonal response to daily stressors. Their stress systems may not be prepared for the stressors of daily life.’
The study included 100 mother-newborn pairs. Stroud said, ‘Our results suggest that effects of smoking during pregnancy on infant stress response are explained by changes in DNA. These alterations in stress hormones, stress response, and DNA may explain links between moms’ smoking during pregnancy and the risk for their children to have behavior problems and nicotine addiction in later life.’
The worrisome fact for India is that in absolute numbers the number of female smokers in India has more than doubled – from about 5.3 million to 12.2 million between 1980 and 2012.A study published earlier in 2014 in the British Medical Journal and also by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) examined the prevalence of smoking and cigarette consumption in 187 countries between 1980 and 2012 and found that while cigarette smoking among Indian men has fallen from 33.8 per cent in 1980 to 23 per cent in 2012, it has risen from three per cent to 3.2 per cent among Indian women within the same time frame. Changing lifestyle has led to more and more Indian women taking to smoking. Fertility experts underline this as one of the factors responsible for rising cases of infertility and higher risk of cancer among Indian women these days.