Advanced maternal age and nicotine consumption during pregnancy

Additive effects on new-born parameters

  • Robin Koger University of Vienna, Department of Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Katharina Syböck University of Vienna, Department of Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Emily Weinelt University of Vienna, Department of Evolutionary Anthropology
  • Beda Hartmann Medical University of Vienna, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Sylvia Kirchengast University of Vienna, Department of Evolutionary Anthropology
Keywords: advanced maternal age at first birth, maternal nicotine consumption, foetal growth, newborn size, birthweight, smoking



Nicotine consumption during pregnancy and advanced maternal age are well known independent risk factors for poor pregnancy outcome and therefore serious public health problems.


Considering the ongoing trend of delaying childbirth in our society, this study investigates potential additive effects of nicotine consumption during pregnancy and advanced maternal age on foetal growth.

Sample and Methods

In a medical record-based study, we analysed the impact of maternal age and smoking behaviour before and during pregnancy on newborn size among 4142 singleton births that took place in Vienna, Austria between 1990 and 1995.


Birth weight (H=82.176, p<0.001), birth length (H=91.525, p<0.001) and head circumference (H=42.097, p<0.001) differed significantly according to maternal smoking behaviour. For birth weight, the adjusted mean differences between smokers and non-smokers increased from 101.8g for the < 18-year-old mothers to 254.8g for >35 year olds, with the respective values for birth length being 0.6 cm to 0.7cm, for head circumference from 0.3 cm to 0.6 cm.


Increasing maternal age amplified the negative effects of smoking during pregnancy on newborn parameters. Our findings identify older smoking mothers as a high-risk group which should be of special interest for public health systems.


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How to Cite
Koger, R., Syböck, K., Weinelt, E., Hartmann, B., & Kirchengast, S. (2021). Advanced maternal age and nicotine consumption during pregnancy: Additive effects on new-born parameters. Human Biology and Public Health, 1.