Author : A. Mahmood, Abdul-Kareem
The Medical Journal of Basrah University,
Volume 25, Issue 1, Pages 25-28
Objective: to verify the occurrence of congenital neural tube anomalies among the newborns of pregnant women who
had experienced exposure to tobacco smoke.
Design: A cross sectional study of pregnant women at delivery considering their newborns as a gestational cohort.
Methods: A systematic random sample of 2300 pregnant women who attended for labour at Maternity and Children
hospital in Najaf city were interviewed for history of tobacco smoke exposure during the period 2002-2004. The
sample was subdivided into exposed and unexposed women to tobacco smoke. The newborns were clinically examined
by a pediatrician for presence of any congenital anomalies especially neural tube defects.
Results: The over all newly delivered newborns with congenital anomalies were 3.4% among smoker mothers, and
1.9% among nonsmokers (including small defects). The most frequent neural tube defects among smoker mothers
were anencephaly (1.8%) and spina bifida (1.2%), versus 0.7% and 0.6% respectively among non smokers or
unexposed women (P<0.05). There was some increase in the risk of such defects among exposed women to tobacco
smoke who did not take folic acid in relation to unexposed in spite of no statistically significant difference. Also there
was no significant difference in the distribution of neural tube defects between those women who live in urban or
rural areas or between different age groups.
Conclusion: Smoking is a risk factor for neural tube defects.