Mother’s Tobacco Addiction Elevates Nicotine Levels in Newborn
In a desperate attempt to save his life, doctors transferred him to a tertiary neonatal hospital in Ahmedabad. Initially presumed to be a case of asphyxiation at birth, the medical team discovered something unexpected. The newborn’s critical condition was attributed to extremely high levels of
Shockingly, the child’s nicotine levels were 3000 percent above the permissible levels for adults, measuring 60 ng/ml. Expressing remorse, the mother reflected on her habits, saying, “In our village, both men and women regularly consume tobacco. I started consuming tobacco when I was 15. I never realized that the habit could jeopardize my child’s health.”
After Five Days of Treatment, the Child Shows Signs of Recovery
The child’s father, also addicted to “mawa,” vowed to quit the habit, recognizing the risks it posed to his family’s well-being. “When the child came to us, he appeared to be a healthy child who had fallen into a coma. While he was initially diagnosed with birth asphyxia, his symptoms did not align with typical cases, as he showed no signs of neurological damage.” said Dr. Ashish Mehta, a senior neonatologist, who described the situation.
To unravel this medical mystery, the medical team delved into the child and mother’s history. They discovered that the mother, unknowingly, had been exposing her fetus to high nicotine levels by frequently consuming tobacco in sachets or raw form, which she purchased from local pan shops. She chewed tobacco approximately 10-15 times a day, unaware of the danger it posed to her unborn child. Gujarat, known as the epicenter of oral cancer, grapples with the widespread addiction to chewing tobacco.
According to the National Family Health Survey 5 conducted in 2020, 41 percent of men and 8.7 percent of women in the state consume tobacco (1✔ ✔Trusted Source
Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya releases NFHS-5 report
Go to source). Alarmingly, this addiction is now affecting newborns. After five days of treatment, the child showed signs of recovery and was discharged. Dr. Mehta consulted international experts who emphasized the immense benefits of breastfeeding, advising the mother to abstain from tobacco while nursing.
- Union Health Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya releases NFHS-5 report – (https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=1823047)