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13 July 2017, 14:11
Women exposed to cigarette smoke in their mother's womb are ''significantly more likely'' to experience miscarriage as adults, according to new research.
The University of Aberdeen study found the association remained after taking into account the smoking habits of women who had the miscarriage.
The study - published in the Human Reproduction Open journal - did not find a link between cigarette smoke exposure in the womb and a decrease in fertility.
Women exposed to cigarette smoke in the womb, however, were more likely to become pregnant than those whose mothers did not smoke and were likely to have an earlier pregnancy, researchers said.
Dr Sohinee Bhattacharya, a pregnancy and childbirth expert from the university, said: ''There is a strong interest in whether our health and fertility can be affected by what happens when we are in the womb.
''Previous research has suggested that there may be a small decrease in the fertility of women whose mothers smoked in pregnancy.
''The study did not find a link between mothers' smoking and a decrease in fertility in their daughters.
''Women whose mothers smoked were more likely to have a pregnancy, but this study suggests that this could simply be linked to the fact that they were also more likely to get pregnant at an earlier age and could be related to socioeconomic status.
''Worryingly, the study did find a significant increase in the chances of having a miscarriage among the women whose mothers had smoked when pregnant with them.''
The study looked at data for 12,321 women born before December 31, 1972.
The information was taken from the Aberdeen maternity and neonatal databank, which continues to record all pregnancies occurring in Aberdeen from 1949 to the present day.
Dr Bhattacharya added: ''As the database only records pregnancies occurring in Aberdeen, women who moved out of Aberdeen and had a pregnancy were not captured in the database.
''More research is needed to confirm the link between fertility and exposure to cigarette smoking in the womb.''