MONTREAL – Father’s smoking increases the baby’s risk of congenital heart disease even more than maternal smoking, Chinese researchers warn in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.
L are congenital heart defects are the leading cause of stillbirth and affect eight in 1,000 babies worldwide.
Researchers from the Xiangya School of Public Health in Changsha City, the capital of Hunan Province, reviewed 125 studies involving more than 135,000 babies with congenital heart disease and some 8.8 million parents .
Any type of parental smoking increased the risk of congenital heart disease: maternal smoking increased it by 25 percent, father’s smoking by 75 percent, and the mother’s exposure to second-hand smoke by 124 percent.
Women’s exposure to second-hand smoke was risky for their fetus at any time during pregnancy and even before it started.
The lead author of the study, Dr. Jiabi Qin, recalled that smoking of future dads and exposure of mothers to second-hand smoke is even more prevalent than smoking among women of childbearing age.