Wednesday 19 September 2018

Smoking in pregnancy 'risks damaging children's hearing'

Cigarettes harm foetus
Cigarettes harm foetus

Women who smoke during and after pregnancy risk damaging the hearing of their children, a study suggests.

It shows that nicotine exposure before birth and during breastfeeding can cause the abnormal development of an area of the brain that processes sound.

Children with impaired hearing are also likely to have learning difficulties and language development problems.

"If mothers smoke during pregnancy and their children show learning difficulties at school, they should be tested for auditory processing deficits," said a spokesperson for the German scientists who carried out the research.

Nicotine exposure during pregnancy was already known to harm foetal brain development.


Mothers who smoke or use e-cigarettes or nicotine replacement therapy have an increased risk of premature delivery or having a lightweight child.

"They are also more likely to experience sudden infant death," said the scientists.

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