Direct placental effects of cigarette smoke protect women from pre-eclampsia: the specific roles of carbon monoxide and antioxidant systems in the placenta
-article from 2004 that notes "Interestingly, women who smoke cigarettes throughout pregnancy are at a 33% reduced risk of developing pre-eclampsia" but goes on to say "While smoking cigarettes has been shown to Ã¢â‚¬ËœprotectÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ women from developing PE, the harmful effects outweigh any potential benefit they provide against this disorder."
The article also says "In fact, women who smoke and who subsequently developed PE have a much poorer outcome than non-smoking women who develop PE" (and references C. Salafia and K. Shiverick, Cigarette smoking and pregnancy II: vascular effects, Placenta 20 (2004), pp. 273Ã¢â‚¬â€œ279. for that statement) -- so smoking may be protective against developing the disease in the first place, but if you do smoke and get PE, you might get it MUCH WORSE.
Caryn I'd love to read the speculation on PE and Neanderthals! I just saw an article recently about low blood pressure being related to stillbirth -
I wonder if there's a natural selection reason for PE then: somewhat higher BP in pregnancy protects the baby from stillbirth - one reason why PE hasn't been selected against and disappeared, even with the mortality for untreated mom and baby.