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Smoking During Pregnancy

Study Confirms Role of Cocaine and Nicotine in Miscarriages

Higher miscarriage rates have been linked to both cocaine use and cigarette smoking by researchers at the University of Pittsburgh. If you snort cocaine while pregnant, you're one and one-half times more likely to have a spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) as someone who hasn't used the drug.

The news is even worse for cigarette smokers. They are twice as likely to suffer a miscarriage as nonsmokers.

Over 900 women were included in this new study. The researchers studied women aged 14 to 40 years, mostly black and in a lower income bracket. All the women had come to the emergency room of an inner city hospital to seek treatment.

While past research has indicated that both cocaine use and cigarette smoking may cause miscarriage, this study used a slightly different technique to gather information. Previous studies have used a question and answer format. This study asked participants if and how often they smoke or use cocaine. For this study, they not only asked them, they tested them. They took hair samples to determine if cocaine had been used and urine samples to test for nicotine.

It turned out that both smoking and using cocaine were under reported by the women. While 30 percent admitted they smoked, urine analysis revealed that 35 percent smoked. Fourteen percent admitted to using cocaine while pregnant, but 29 percent tested positive.

Overall, cocaine use and cigarette smoking accounted for 24 percent of the risk of miscarriage. So for both your baby's health and yours, avoid both substances-at least while you're pregnant.

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