High blood pressure link to smoking by mothers

BABIES born to women who smoke are five times more likely to have high blood pressure than babies born to non-smokers, according to new research.

The damaging effects of smoking during pregnancy begin at birth with babies of smoking mothers reported as having higher blood pressure than babies of mums who did not smoke, the Swedish study found.

It discovered that babies of smokers had a 10 per cent increase in blood pressure when they were tilted while sleeping at one week old. Babies of non-smokers only had a 2 per cent increase in blood pressure when tilted. Such tilting is a simple test of how the body reacts to repositioning.

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The findings suggest women who smoke do significant damage to their babies' circulatory system.

The research was conducted in Stockholm, Sweden and published in Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.

The researchers plan to continue to follow these children further to determine whether this re-programming creates problems when they become older.