The study titled, “In utero exposure to nicotine abolishes the postnatal response of the cardiac sodium current to isoproterenol in newborn rabbit atrium,” was published in Heart Rhythm and looked at the effect of nicotine consumption on babies in utero.
Nicotine and the heart function of babies
The researchers conducted their study on rabbits, and found evidence linking fetal exposure to nicotine, to long-term changes in the heart function of babies. The researchers explained that these changes may interfere with the adaptation of the babies’ cardiac action potential and could prevent awakening during sleep apnea.
“Clinicians often prescribe NRTs to pregnant women who want to stop smoking to reduce the number of sudden infant deaths,” says researcher Robert Dumaine from the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at the University of Sherbrooke in Canada. ” However, our data shows that nicotine alone is enough to change the electrical currents in the heart and cause arrhythmias that cause the baby to die,” added the researcher.
Meanwhile, in response to a past study about vaping during pregnancy, vaping advocates had said that such research needs to be put in perspective. It was pointed out that while no one is suggesting pregnant women should take up vaping for leisure and ideally they would abstain from such products whether they contain nicotine or not completely, since vaping is significantly safer than smoking, heavy smokers who are unable to quit would still benefit by switching to the safer alternatives, as would their offspring.
Vitamin C Supplementation During Pregnancy
On the other hand, a 2018 study titled, Vitamin C Supplementation for Pregnant Smoking Women and Pulmonary Function in their Newborn Infants: A Randomized Clinical Trial, had analyzed whether vitamin C supplementation had an impact on the lung function of babies whose mothers smoked when pregnant.
The results had indicated that at three months of age, infants whose smoking mothers took 500 mg of Vitamin C per day in addition to their prenatal vitamin, had significantly better lung function, when compared to infants whose smoking mothers did not.