Young males whose mothers smoked during pregnancy had lower aerobic fitness compared to males whose mothers did not smoke, according to a study published in BJOG: an International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology

Finnish researchers studied the effect of maternal smoking on the long-term health of male offspring in a study of 508 young men (average age 19). Fifty-nine of subject’s mothers smoked >1 cigarette per day throughout pregnancy. The authors analyzed data from a running test each subject in the study took at the beginning of military service and found that lower aerobic fitness was linked to those whose mother smoked during pregnancy. The level of aerobic fitness was also independently associated with their smoking status, weight, and physical activity. 

RELATED: Higher Cigarette Taxes Linked to Lower Infant Mortality

In addition, maternal pre-pregnancy body mass index (BMI) and excessive weight gain during pregnancy were tied to lower aerobic fitness in their children. 

Study authors urge healthcare professionals to refer pregnant women to evidence based facts and guidance about smoking during their pregnancy. 

For more information visit