A Swedish study has found that women who used smokeless tobacco products during their pregnancy put their kids at risk of higher blood pressure. The research published further highlights the fact that expecting mothers shouldn’t be consuming any tobacco or nicotine. The negative effects on their children are both unpredictable and life-threatening.
Most people know now that women shouldn’t smoke while they’re pregnant. There have been multiple studies published and loads of research done to prove that tobacco and nicotine are harmful to the developing baby. However, those who find it hard to quit may turn to smokeless alternatives—believing that the smoke is mainly what affects the baby. With this study, this thought has been proven false.
The substance, snus, is a moist, powdered, and smokeless tobacco consumed by placing it on the upper lip for a period of time. It usually comes in teabag-like squares, and it’s sold as a better alternative to cigarettes. The sale of snus is prohibited in all European Union countries except Sweden, where it has gained popularity. Researchers wanted to examine if the substance is equally as dangerous as cigarettes for pregnant women.
A small Swedish study examined 21 kids who were exposed to smokeless tobacco while they were in the womb and compared their health to 19 children who weren’t exposed to any. They found that children who were exposed to snus had a higher blood pressure than those who had no exposure. They also looked at children’s heart rate, and researchers discovered that nicotine affected it as well; kids exposed to snus had a poorer cardiovascular response time to changing demands of the body.
While the study has given us a glimpse into the effects of smokeless tobacco during pregnancy, it’s important to note that the sample size of the study is quite small and the women chosen were those who used high doses of the product. This does not mean, however, that the findings should be dismissed. In general, expecting moms should avoid nicotine and tobacco all throughout the pregnancy, and if it’s difficult to quit, then doses should be very small and monitored by their doctor.