smoking during pregnancyBased on evidence collected by researchers at the Medical University of Gdansk, maternal smoking affects the fatty acid profile of breast milk. The results of the study were published in the journal Acta Paediatrica.

Researchers collected information on fatty acid levels in breast milk from 20 known smokers and 136 controls (non-smokers). All smokers admitted to smoking more than five cigarettes per day during pregnancy and throughout lactation. Breast milk collection was performed between days 17 and 30 postpartum. Saturated, polyunsatured and monounsatured fatty acid levels were measured in all 156 samples.

Higher levels of all fatty acids were found in women who smoked during pregnancy and lactation. Researchers also found a lower omega 6 to omega 3 fatty acid ratio in female smokers. Aside from the previously reported negative side effects of smoking during pregnancy, smoking also affects the fatty acid profile of breast milk.

Source: Szlagatys-Sidorkiewicz A, Martysiak-Zurowska D, Krzykowski G, Zagierski M, Kaminska B. Maternal Smoking Modulates Fatty Acid Profile of Breast Milk. Acta Paediatr. 2013 Apr 26. doi: 10.1111/apa.12276.