Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 88, Issue 4, pp 232–237 | Cite as

A Canadian Tertiary Care Centre Study of Maternal and Umbilical Cord Cotinine Levels as Markers of Smoking During Pregnancy: Relationship to Neonatal Effects

  • Sherry L. PerkinsEmail author
  • Judy M. Belcher
  • John F. Livesey


This study describes the prevalence of smoking among 3,220 pregnant women. Maternal and umbilical cord cotinine levels were compared with the women’s self-reported cigarette consumption, infant birth weight and antepartum and perinatal complications. Of the women who reported themselves as being active smokers (23%), 76% had a partner who smoked, and 38% reported exposure to environmental smoke in the workplace. Only 15% of nonsmokers had a partner who smoked, and 13% reported workplace exposure. The mean number of cigarettes/day was 20.5 (95% CI 19.6-21.4). The relative risk of having a small-for-gestational-age infant was significantly higher in smokers for mothers of both preterm (34-36 wks, RR= 3.38, 95% CI 1.25 - 9.16) and term babies (>- 37wks, RR= 2.04, 95% CI 1.58 - 2.63). Mean infant birth weight was 207 g lighter in the infants of smokers (p<0.001) and was inversely correlated to maternal serum cotinine level. Birth weight dropped by 0.99 g for every 1 ug/L increase in cotinine (r =-0.19, p<0.01).


Cette étude décrit la prévalence du tabagisme durant la grossesse, auprès de 3 220 Canadiennes. Les taux sanguins de cotinine de la mère et du cordon ombilical ont été comparés à la consommation de cigarettes déclarés par les participantes, au poids des nourrissons à la naissance et aux complications périnatales et postnatales. Parmi celles qui avouaient fumer activement (23 %), 76 % avaient un conjoint fumeur et 38 % étaient exposées à la fumée dans leur milieu de travail. Seulement 15 % des non fumeuses cohabitaient avec un fumeur, et 13 % rapportèrent être exposées à la fumée dans leur milieu de travail. La consommation moyenne s’élevait à 20,5 cigarettes/jour (95 % IC; 19,6 - 21,4). Le risque relatif de donner naissance à un bébé de petit poids prématuré (34-36 semaines; RR = 3,38; 95 % IC 1,25 - 9,16) ou à terme (>- 37 semaines; RR = 2,04; 95 % IC 1,58 - 2.63) était significative-ment plus élevé chez les fumeuses. Le poids moyen des nourrissons à la naissance issus de mères fumeuses était de 207 g inférieur à celui des nourrissons de mères non fumeuses (p<0,001), et était inversement proportionnel aux taux sanguins maternels de cotinine. En fait, le poids des nourrissons à la naissance diminuait de 0,99 g pour chaque augmentation de 1 μg/L de cotinine sanguin chez la mère (r = - 0,19; p<0,01).


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sherry L. Perkins
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Judy M. Belcher
    • 2
  • John F. Livesey
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Laboratory MedicineOttawa Civic HospitalCanada
  2. 2.Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyOttawa Civic HospitalCanada
  3. 3.Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineUniversity of OttawaCanada

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