Pregnant smoking may be tied to child's cholesterol levels

June 22, 2011 2:45:03 PM PDT
A new study in the European Heart Journal finds mothers who smoke while pregnant might be causing changes to their unborn babies that can lead them to have less of a type of cholesterol known to protect against heart disease.

Scientists found, by the age of 8, children born to mothers who smoked in pregnancy had lower levels of HDL cholesterol than those born to mothers who hadn't smoked.

Scientists say the results suggest that maternal smoking imprints an unhealthy set of characteristics on children that could predispose them to later heart attack and stroke.