Smoking is not healthy; we’ve known that for quite some time. Smoking during pregnancy is even worse. Not only are you causing harm to yourself, but babies born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy experience a range of complications, including but not limited to; low birth weight, underdeveloped lungs (leading to asthma and other breathing problems), and heart defects. And these complications can be lifetime problems.
Behavioral problems now linked to smoking during pregnancy
A study published in JAMA Psychiatry analyzed children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy to test behavioral patterns compared to those whose mothers did not smoke during pregnancy.
This was not the first study to analyze whether children born to mothers who smoked during pregnancy exhibited more behavioral problems. However, prior studies were unable to rule out other influential factors – such as the fact that the parenting styles of women who smoked while pregnant were often more “lax” when it came to their children’s behavior.
This recent study analyzed not only the children who still lived with their birth parents, but also children who were born to mothers who smoked, but then adopted by non-smokers. Both groups of children had similar behavioral scores, which indicated more conduct problems than occurred with children whose mothers did not smoke during pregnancy. The researchers indicated the behavioral differences were significant enough to be noticeable on a daily basis.
Smoking during pregnancy is known to affect fetal brain development
As if anyone needed another reason not to smoke during pregnancy, the fact that it can impair brain development and cause lifelong behavioral problems should convince expectant mothers to put down the cigarettes. In fact, it’s advisable to avoid second-hand smoke as well.