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Smoking during pregnancy can harm baby’s brain

During pregnancy smoking contributes to significant problems in utero and after the birth problems like low birth weight and attentional difficulties.

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New York- During pregnancy, mothers who smoke are at risk of metal disorders in their babies, warns a study.

According to the study, higher maternal nicotine level in the mother’s blood increased the odds 38 percent of having schizophrenia among their offsring.

Nicotine readily crosses the placenta into the foetal bloodstream, specifically targets foetal brain development, causing short- and long-term changes in cognition and potentially contributes to other neuro-developmental abnormalities.

“To our knowledge, this is the first biomarker-based study to show a relationship between foetal nicotine exposure and schizophrenia,” said senior author Alan Brown from Columbia University’s medical centre in the US.

“We employed a nationwide sample with the highest number of schizophrenia cases to date in a study of this type,” Brown added in the paper published online in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

The team examined nearly 1,000 cases of schizophrenia and matched controls among offspring born in Finland from 1983-1998, who were ascertained from the country’s national registry.

The findings persisted after adjusting for important confounding factors including maternal and parental psychiatric history, socio-economic status and maternal age.

smoking pregnant lady outside hospital
smoking pregnant lady outside hospital

Heavy smoking based on cotinine, a reliable marker of nicotine in maternal sera, was reported by 20 percent of the mothers of cases, but only 14.7 percent of the mothers of controls.

During pregnancy smoking contributes to significant problems in utero and after the birth problems like low birth weight and attentional difficulties.

“These findings underscore the value of ongoing public health education on the potentially debilitating and largely preventable, consequences that smoking may have on children over time,” Brown noted.

The study also showed that the mother who smoked during pregnancy have an increased risk of bipolar disorder after giving birth.(IANS)

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  • AJ Krish

    Some sacrifices are a must ,if the health of the mother and the baby are at stake.Hope they realise it really soon.

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Midwives Want To Reduce Maternal Mortality In South Sudan

South Sudan has added more than 800 midwives and nurses since 2010.

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Midwives, SUDAN
A woman holding her baby in a nursery watches another newborn who is attached to a ventilator at Juba Teaching Hospital in Juba, April 3, 2013. South Sudan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. VOA

More than 60 people graduated in Juba this week with diplomas in midwifery and nursing. Their goal? To reduce South Sudan’s high rate of maternal mortality.

Eight men were among the 66 graduates of the Kajo Keji Health Science Institute — an unusual occurrence in South Sudan, where midwifery is associated almost exclusively with women.

Samuel Ladu Morish, 26, says he felt he could no longer sit by and watch young women die because of childbirth.

chikungunya, maternal mortality
A woman sits inside a mosquito tent in the town of Abyei, Sudan. VOA

“A lot of mothers are dying so [for] me particularly it pains me. That is why I felt I have to do that course, to try my level best to stop maternal mortality rate in South Sudan,” Morish told VOA’s South Sudan in Focus.

Twenty-one-year-old Leju Henry, another male graduate, said he’s been asked many times why he decided to pursue a course in midwifery. Like Morish, Henry said he wants to help South Sudanese women, especially those who suffer complications in child labor.

“Most people think midwifery is a job for females only, but that is not the truth. … the definition of midwifery [is] that a midwife simply means someone who assists in child above all, but not necessarily means a fellow woman,” Henry said.

According to figures published by the World Health Organization in 2017, South Sudan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world — 789 women per 100,000 live births.

south sudan's war, chikungunya, maternal mortality
In this photo taken Saturday, Feb. 17, 2018, the winner of Miss World South Sudan 2017, Arual Longar, poses for a portrait at a shelter for street children in Juba, South Sudan. VOA

The rate has actually fallen in recent years, a trend that Makur Koriom, the undersecretary of South Sudan’s Ministry of Health, attributes to increased training of midwives and nurses.

Also Read: Sudan Suffers From A Chikungunya Outbreak

He says South Sudan has added more than 800 midwives and nurses since 2010.

“We believe that’s important, because to address the current health challenges, investing in human resource is very important. But, of course, investment at [the] secondary level without concurrent development at the community level also will not yield [good results], because most of the issues happen at the community level,” Koriom told VOA. (VOA)