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Smoking increases stillbirth risk

New research confirms that women who smoke while pregnant are increasing their risk of a stillbirth.

Scientists studied 526,691 women's smoking habits during their first and second pregnancies between 1983 and 2001.

Mothers-to-be who smoked had a significantly higher risk of stillbirth than those who did not.

Stillbirths were more common among second pregnancies, affecting about four out of every 1,000 women who smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day during both pregnancies.

Women younger than 19 years or older than 35 years were also more likely than others to experience a stillbirth.

The scientists say that women who stopped smoking early on in their pregnancy reduced their risk of stillbirth as did those who stopped smoking between their first and second pregnancy.

"This study supports that there is a causal relation between smoking and stillbirth," says Lovisa Hogberg at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

"Smoking during pregnancy is a preventable cause of stillbirth, it is therefore important to encourage all pregnant women to quit."

Smokefree England