January 15, 2009

Smoking During Pregnancy Damages Thyroid Function

A new study finds cigarette smoking during pregnancy is linked to potentially harmful changes in thyroid function for the mother and fetus.

British researchers looked at how smoking affected thyroid function in two groups of women, one in the first trimester and another in the third trimester. In both groups, the research revealed smoking is associated with changes in the mothers' thyroid level. The researchers also tested thyroid levels in the umbilical cord and discovered the smoking-related changes extended to the fetus.  

"Optimal maternal thyroid function during pregnancy is vital for a successful pregnancy outcome," Dr. Bijay Vaidya, Ph.D., of Peninsula Medical School at Royal Devon was quoted as saying.

Vaidya said the adverse outcomes associated with thyroid dysfunction during pregnancy include risk of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and impaired neuropsychological development of the baby.

The same study found thyroid levels of women who stopped smoking during pregnancy comparable to women who did not smoke at all, which suggests changes in thyroid function reverse quickly.

SOURCE: Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism (JCEM), February 2009