Comparison of Maternal Dietary Intakes of Smokers with Non-Smokers
Researchers from the UCD Centre for Human Reproduction report a study comparing the maternal dietary intake of smokers with non-smokers at the mothers’ first perinatal visit. They demonstrated serious dietary inadequacies among smoking mothers which may aggravate fetal growth restriction and highlight the importance of promoting smoking cessation interventions in pregnancy and the need for dietary interventions in women who continue to smoke.
The cross-sectional study was conducted alongside researchers from the DIT School of Biological Sciences and the Trinity College School of Medicine between June 2014 and March 2016 and was published in the British Medical Journal.
Researchers compiled the dietary intakes of both macro and micronutrients for 398 women at their first prenatal visit, recruited opportunistically after sonographic confirmation of an ongoing singleton pregnancy. At this time the women also self-reported whether they were non-smokers or continued to smoke during pregnancy.
Maternal smoking is strongly associated with an increase in adverse pregnancy outcomes, including increased risk of intrauterine growth restriction. This risk increases in accordance with the number of cigarettes smoked, and cessation of smoking in the first half of pregnancy may normalise fetal growth. Fetal growth is also influenced by deficiencies in maternal macro and micronutrients.
A correlation was found between maternal smoking status and diet. Specifically, women who continued smoking during pregnancy were found to have serious inadequacies of both dietary micronutrients and macronutrients. These inadequacies could potentially aggravate fetal growth restriction caused by direct toxicity from cigarettes. Women who had stopped smoking had dietary intakes which compared favourably with women who never smoked. These results strengthen the case for screening for smoking in early pregnancy and offering supports for smoking cessation. These results also indicate a need to advise women who continue smoking during pregnancy about healthy eating behaviours and folic acid supplementation.
Eimer G O'Malley, Shona Cawley, Ciara M E Reynolds, Rachel A K Kennedy, Anne Molloy, Michael J Turner
O'Malley EG, et al. BMJ Open 2018;8:e021721. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-021721