Smoking while pregnant causes DNA damage

Posted By: Staff | Dec 6 2013

New research showing smoking causes severe DNA damage to the placenta will greatly motivate pregnant women to kick the habit, a quitting expert says.

The Otago University study looked at 236 placenta samples donated by women after they had given birth, including 150 from non-smokers, 34 from women who quit four weeks or more before birth, and 52 from women who smoked throughout pregnancy.

It found the rate of double-strand DNA breaks - a severe form of DNA damage that can lead to cells becoming unstable - was greatly increased in smokers’ placental cells.

The more cigarettes a woman smoked, the greater the DNA damage.

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