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Smoking while pregnant may compromise children's kidney function

December 22, 2016

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  • Compared with those born from nonsmoking mothers, young children whose mothers smoked while pregnant were 1.24-times more likely to show signs of kidney damage.
Washington, DC (December 22, 2016) -- In a new study, young children showed signs of kidney damage if their mothers smoked while pregnant. The findings, which appear in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN), add to the list of negative health effects that can result from maternal smoking during pregnancy.

Because smoking is a well-known risk factor for kidney failure in adults, a team led by Koji Kawakami, MD, PhD, Maki Shinzawa, MD, PhD, and Motoko Yanagita MD, PhD (Kyoto University, in Japan) wondered whether maternal smoking during pregnancy might affect children's kidney health. The researchers conducted a population-based retrospective study using a database of health check-ups from pregnancy to 3 years of age in Japan. The investigators looked for the presence of proteinuria--or elevated protein the urine, which is a sign of reduced kidney function--in urinary tests from 44,595 children.

In the population examined, 4.4% of women smoked only before pregnancy and 16.7% continued smoking while pregnant. The frequencies of proteinuria in the child at age 3 were 1.7% when mothers continued to smoke during pregnancy, 1.6% when mothers stopped smoking during pregnancy, and 1.3% when mothers were nonsmokers, respectively. Maternal smoking during pregnancy was associated with a 1.24-times increased risk of child proteinuria compared with no exposure to maternal smoking during pregnancy.

"Maternal smoking during pregnancy is known to be associated with preterm birth, low birth weight, and neonatal asphyxia. The findings from this study suggest an additional adverse effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy," said Dr. Kawakami. "Prevention of child proteinuria is important since child proteinuria can lead to development of chronic kidney disease in adulthood and ultimately end stage renal disease."
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Study co-authors include Shiro Tanaka, PhD, Hironobu Tokumasu, MD, MPH, Daisuke Takada MD, and Tatsuo Tsukamoto MD, PhD.

Disclosures: The authors reported no financial disclosures.

The article, entitled "Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy, Household Smoking After the Child's Birth, and Childhood Proteinuria at Age Three," will appear online at http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/ on December 22, 2016, doi: 10.2215/CJN. 05980616.

The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Since 1966, ASN has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge, and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has nearly 16,000 members representing 112 countries. For more information, please visit http://www.asn-online.org or contact us at 202-640-4660.

American Society of Nephrology

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