Giving up smoking before becoming pregnant is the ideal scenario “Mothers using nicotine gum to avoid smoking in pregnancy ‘put unborn babies at risk’,” warned the Daily Mail. It said that the nicotine is absorbed by the foetus, which “can cause high blood pressure and heart problems later in life”.
This news is based on a study in rats that looked at how exposure to nicotine in the womb affected the large artery leading from the heart (the aorta). However, there are several reasons why a straightforward interpretation of these results to humans should be treated with caution.
First, there are many differences between humans and rats. Second, it is not clear whether the levels of nicotine used in these experiments is comparable to what would be seen in women using nicotine gum or patches.
Zyban Side Effects. (nicotine patch). Codec Windows Media Player. Uses a category system to classify the possible risks to a fetus when specific medicine is taken during pregnancy.
Overall, it is unsurprising that nicotine could have adverse effects on the foetus. However, the news does not seem to consider the fact that women who smoke in pregnancy will also be exposing their baby to nicotine, as well as other chemicals. Smoking is known to have adverse effects for both the mother and the child, so for women who smoke, giving up before becoming pregnant is the ideal scenario. The Grim Adventures Of Billy And Mandy Games. If women who are trying to quit during pregnancy can achieve this without nicotine replacement therapies, such as patches, this would avoid any potential risk associated with nicotine. However, if they do need nicotine replacement therapies, the long-term benefits of quitting smoking seem likely to outweigh the risks associated with continuing to smoke in pregnancy and after. Where did the story come from?
The study was carried out by researchers from Loma Linda University School of Medicine and California State University in the US. Funding was provided by the California Tobacco-related Disease Research Program and the National Institutes of Health.
The study was published in the British Journal of Pharmacology. The Daily Mail does report that this study was in rats, but this information is only given mid-way through the story. What kind of research was this? This was animal research looking what effect giving nicotine to pregnant rats had on their male offspring. The researchers report that have found that smoking in pregnancy is associated with higher blood pressure and cardiovascular disease in the adult offspring.
They say that their previous experiments in rats have indicated that prenatal nicotine exposure has an effect on the blood vessels in males, making them more prone to high blood pressure. They wanted to carry out more experiments to see how nicotine had this effect.
Animal studies help us to understand the biological effects of chemical exposures, as similar experiments could not be done in humans. Download Software Essential Examination Pdf. However, as there are obvious differences between the species, the results in rats may not fully represent what happens in humans. What did the research involve?
The researchers took pregnant rats and implanted small pumps under their skin that continuously pumped out nicotine (in 12 rats) or a salt solution (in 13 rats) throughout the pregnancy. The researchers say that the dose of nicotine received by the rats was similar to what would be seen in the bloodstream of a moderate smoker. When the offspring were born and reached the age of five months, the researchers compared the blood vessels in the male offspring (exposed to nicotine) with the control male offspring (exposed to salt solution). They took slices from the rats’ aortas – the large artery leading from the heart – and bathed them in a solution including a hormone called angiotensin, which makes them contract. Contraction of the blood vessels will increase blood pressure.
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