Daughters of mothers who smoked during pregnancy enter puberty at a younger age. As a result, these offspring start their periods earlier---a risk factor for uterine, endometrials and breast cancers later in life. Study researchers from Australia say that maternal smoking could create health problems in daughters even before they are born.
Health risks children often have when a mother smokes during pregancy include low birth rate, asthma, type 2 diabetes and obesity. This new study suggests that there are many more possible adverse effects that are just beginning to be discovered and may evolve over a lifetime in the exposed fetus. According to study author, Alison Behie, there are several factors that influence when a girl has her first period: puberty age of mother, body weight of the girl at ages 8-9, and based on this study, mother's smoking habit.
This study only followed girls till ages 12-13 and the next study will look at girls 14-15 years. This data will need to be teased out for confounding factors and other influences but it does suggest that mothers who smoke while pregnant may want to consider stopping the habit-at least while pregnant.