Smoking during pregnancy is a well-know risk for having a low-birth-weight infant. But now a new study suggests that maternal exposure to environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) during pregnancy also can increase infants' risk of low birth weight.
Researchers at Ulleval University Hospital in Oslo, Norway, studied 58 low-birth-weight infants and 105 controls. They measured mothers' and infants' hair nicotine concentrations using gas chromatography and mass spectroscopy. When they excluded smoking mothers from the analysis, the risk for low birth weight was 2 to 3 times higher for infants born to mothers with hair nicotine levels in the 3 highest quartiles than to those whose mothers were in the lowest quartile.
Voelker R. Environmental Tobacco Smoke Affects Birth Weight. JAMA. 1998;279(10):739. doi:10.1001/jama.279.10.739-JWM80000-4-1