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Exposure to Smoke Linked With Increased Risk of Stillbirth

Thursday, December 12, 2013 (Last Updated: 12/13/2013)

THURSDAY, Dec. 12, 2013 (HealthDay News) -- Smoking, cannabis use, exposure to secondhand smoke, and illicit drug use, independently and in combination, are linked with increased risk of stillbirth, according to research published online Dec. 6 in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

Michael W. Varner, M.D., of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, and colleagues conducted a case-control study to assess the association of illicit drug use and smoking with stillbirth. Maternal serum was analyzed for cotinine, and toxicology was performed on umbilical cord samples.

The researchers found that stillbirth was more likely (odds ratio [OR], 1.94) with a cord homogenate test that was positive for any illicit drug. The risk of stillbirth was increased with use of the most common individual drug, cannabis (OR, 2.34), but this effect was partially confounded by smoking. A positive dose-response relationship with stillbirth was observed for both maternal self-reported smoking history and maternal serum cotinine levels. Exposure to secondhand smoke (positive serum cotinine level <3 ng/mL plus nonsmoker history) was linked with increased risk of stillbirth (OR, 2.06).

"Clinicians should be alert to these risks and should educate women regarding dangers associated with marijuana use and active and passive smoke exposure during pregnancy," the authors write.

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Specialties Hematology & Oncology
OBGYN & Women's Health

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