To evaluate the association between maternal smoking during pregnancy and infantile colic (IC).


A follow-up study of singleton infants delivered by Danish mothers at the Aarhus University Hospital from May 1991 to February 1992 and still living in the municipality of Aarhus at the age of 8 months was conducted. A total of 1820 mothers and their infants were included. Self-administered questionnaires were used to collect data on smoking, other lifestyle factors, and sociodemographic variables at 16 and 30 weeks of gestation and 8 months postpartum. IC was defined in the 8-month questionnaire and based on Wessel's criteria, except that we used only the crying criterion.


IC was seen in 10.8% of all infants. We observed a twofold increased risk of IC among infants whose mothers smoked 15 or more cigarettes per day during their pregnancy(relative risk: 2.1; 95% confidence interval: 1.4–3.2) or in the postpartum period (relative risk: 2.0; 95% confidence interval: 1.3–3.1). Women who smoked continuously during pregnancy and the postpartum period had a relative risk of 1.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.1–2.0) of having a infant with IC compared with women who did not smoke during this period. Adjustment for maternal age, parity, marital status, alcohol intake, birth weight, gestational age, breastfeeding, caffeine intake postpartum, and paternal smoking did not change the effect measures.


The results indicate that maternal smoking during pregnancy may increase the risk of IC.

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