According to the CDC, there are about seven million children in the USA living with asthma. Frequent wheezing, choking, inability to play sports, constant hospital visits and endless stress and fear, it is not the way for a child to live. While the exact causes of childhood asthma are not clear, all scientists agree that mother”s smoking is one of the major risks for children to develop the disease very early in the childhood. The latest study conducted by the scientists from the University of California San Francisco lead by Sam Oh found that even prenatal smoking can increase the risk of uncontrolled asthma in children.
Asthma in children
Asthma in children and in adults is the same disease, but its effects, symptoms and control are very different in children. Scientists believe that there are several potential causes of asthma: genetics, sensitive immune system, infection in early age, and various environmental factors such as smoking. In children with asthma, various triggers cause lungs and airways to become swollen and to produce mucus, causing difficulty in breathing which characterizes the disease. Tobacco smoke is one of the most common triggers, together with viral infections and various allergies.
While children can lead fairly normal lives with asthma, the quality of their lives depends very much on the way the disease is controlled.
University of California scientists studies almost 2500 children with asthma in order to find the correlation between the severity of their disease and their mothers” â„¢ smoking. The study focused on children from low-income families because of much higher number of children with asthma in that segment of the population ” “ about 16 percents compared with 9 percents from other income groups.
The study found that about 19 percent of African-American and more than five percents of Hispanic mothers smoked during pregnancy. About 38 percents of black children and almost 30 percent of Hispanic kids had very poorly controlled symptoms of their asthma.
Smoking and babies” â„¢ future
Poorly controlled and more severe asthma are just some of the results of women smoking during pregnancy. It is not clear whether their smoking is causing babies” â„¢ lungs to develop poorly or it is affecting some gene responsible for the lung development or immunity. But, there is no doubt that smoking affects unborn infants like nothing else their mother do while waiting for their babies to be born. Other studies have found the correlation between prenatal smoking and low birth weight, even with some forms of autism.
Pregnancy is the time of joy and of preparation for the new phase of your life, with your baby. It is up to you to give your baby the best possible start in life and the best possible chance of good, healthy future. If that requires quitting smoking, it is really a very small thing to ask for.