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Maternal smoking is established to cause adverse birth outcomes, but evidence considering maternal smoking change across successive pregnancies is sparse. We examined the association between self-reported maternal smoking during and between the first two pregnancies with the odds of small for gestational age (SGA) birth (<10th percentile) in the second infant. Records for the first two pregnancies for 16791 women within the SLOPE (Studying Lifecourse Obesity PrEdictors) study were analysed. This is a population-based cohort of prospectively collected anonymised antenatal and birth healthcare data (2003-2018) in Hampshire, UK. Logistic regression was used to relate maternal smoking change to the odds of SGA birth in the second infant. In the full sample, compared to never smokers, mothers smoking at the start of the first pregnancy had higher odds of SGA birth in the second pregnancy even where they stopped smoking before the first antenatal appointment for the second pregnancy (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 1.50 [95% confidence interval 1.10, 2.03]). If a mother was not a smoker at the first antenatal appointment for either her first or her second pregnancy, but smoked later in her first pregnancy or between pregnancies, there was no evidence of increased risk of SGA birth in the second pregnancy compared to never smokers. A mother who smoked ten or more cigarettes a day at the start of both of her first two pregnancies had the highest odds of SGA birth (3.54 [2.55, 4.92]). Women who were not smoking at the start of the first pregnancy but who subsequently resumed/began smoking and smoked at the start of their second pregnancy, also had higher odds (2.11 [1.51, 2.95]) than never smokers. Smoking in the first pregnancy was associated with SGA birth in the second pregnancy, even if the mother quit by the confirmation of her second pregnancy.

Original publication




Journal article


PLoS One

Publication Date





Cohort Studies, England, Female, Fetal Growth Retardation, Gestational Age, Gravidity, Humans, Infant, Newborn, Infant, Newborn, Diseases, Infant, Small for Gestational Age, Logistic Models, Maternal Behavior, Parturition, Pregnancy, Prenatal Exposure Delayed Effects, Time Factors, Tobacco Smoking