Smoking in pregnancy tied to kids’ conduct problems

WELL_gabby_3c_408

Children of women who smoked cigarettes during pregnancy are more likely to have behavioral problems than those whose mothers didn’t light up, says a new analysis.

“The evidence is emerging that smoking in pregnancy and the frequency of smoking in pregnancy is correlated with developmental outcomes after (children) are born,” said Gordon Harold, the study’s senior author from the University of Leicester in the UK.

Previous research has tied smoking cigarettes during pregnancy to behavior problems among children later on, but those studies couldn’t rule out the influence of other factors, such as genetics or parenting techniques, researchers said.

For example, Harold and his colleagues write in JAMA Psychiatry that mothers who smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have parenting styles that condone acting out.

For the new analysis, the researchers pulled together data from three studies from New Zealand, the UK and the U.S. that asked women whether or not they smoked cigarettes during pregnancy. Parents and teachers then reported on children’s conduct problems – such as getting in fights or having difficulty paying attention – between age four and 10.

The analysis also compared children who were raised by adoptive mothers to children who were raised by their biological mothers in an effort to tease out the influence of genetics and parenting styles on any link between prenatal smoking and behavior.

The researchers compared children’s behavior scores to an average of 100, where higher scores indicate more conduct problems.

In studies that looked at women who raised their own biological children, those who didn’t smoke during pregnancy had kids who scored about a 99, on average, compared to a score of 104 among children whose mothers smoked 10 or more cigarettes per day.

That difference, according to Harold, would be noticeable in daily life.

Similar results were observed for children who were raised by adoptive mothers when researchers surveyed their birth mothers about smoking.

While the new study cannot prove smoking in pregnancy caused the behavior problems, Harold told Reuters Health it helps rule out some other potential explanations.

“It’s illuminating the prenatal period as having an ongoing influence on outcomes,” Harold said.

“We’re not saying life after birth is no longer relevant… Rather, both influences are clearly important,” he said.

Harold said there are a few explanations for why smoking may influence later conduct, including that babies of mothers who smoke may be born smaller or have impaired brain development.

In an accompanying editorial, Theodore Slotkin, a professor of pharmacology and cancer biology at the Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina, writes that it’s undeniable that smoking while pregnant contributes to later behavior problems in children, based on the new study and past research.

He also told Reuters Health the concern goes beyond women’s own smoking.

“It’s one thing if mom is smoking, but what if mom is getting exposed from a partner or a smoking environment?” Slotkin said.

Harold said the new findings add to the reasons for women not to smoke while pregnant.

“Providing a healthy and safe prenatal environment, giving that child the best possible starting place, helps the child in the long term,” he said.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

OkCupid admits to Facebook-style experimenting on customers

By Sarah McBrideSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - OkCupid, a top U.S. matchmaking website, intentionally mismatched users to test its technology, the IAC/InterActive Corp service said on…

Local

MTA fares still increasing 4 percent in newly…

The agency said the 4 percent increases, previously announced in December, will remain steady even as the MTA deals with increasing labor costs.

Local

De Blasio, Bratton defend city's efforts after Eric…

Mayor Bill de Blasio justified the city's response to the death of Eric Garner, a Staten Island man who died while in police custody earlier this month.

National

PHOTO: New Zealand Heral uses wrong image to…

The New Zealand Herald made a terrible mistake of using the wrong image to illustrate the tragic death of Staff Sergeant Guy Boyland – a New Zealand-born Israeli soldier who…

Movies

Interview: Brendan Gleeson on the way 'Calvary' depicts…

Brendan Gleeson talks about how his new film "Calvary" began over drinks and how his character here is the opposite of the lead in "The Guard."

Movies

'Get on Up' producer Mick Jagger on the…

Mick Jagger, a producer on the James Brown biopic "Get on Up," talks about the time had to tell the singer some bad news and his favorite JB record.

Television

'Glee' star Lea Michele to appear on 'Sons…

"Glee" star Lea Michele has been confirmed as a guest star in the final season of "Sons of Anarchy."

Television

TV watch list, Monday, July 28: 'The Bachelorette'…

See Andi Dorfman make her big choice on tonight's 'Bachelorette' finale.

NFL

Larry Donnell has inside track in Giants tight…

Little-known Larry Donnell of Grambling State currently has the inside track, as the second-year player has received the bulk of the first-team reps.

NFL

Computer to Jets: Start Michael Vick over Geno…

Jets general manager John Idzik says the choice of who starts between second-year quarterback Geno Smith and veteran Michael Vick will be a “Jets decision.”

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

Travel

Glasgow: Hey, hey, the gangs aren't here

This European city has done a good job getting rid of its more violent residents and revitalizing with artists.

Education

Babson College tops list of best colleges for…

Money magazine has just released its inaugural list of "The Best Colleges for Your Money" -- and the answers have surprised many. Babson College, which…

Education

NYC teens learn how to develop apps during…

Through a program sponsored by CampInteractive, the high schoolers designed their own community-focused apps.

Tech

The Ministry of Silly Walks app is both…

Monty Python have dug into their back catalogue for cash-ins once more, but with the Ministry of Silly Walks app, they've made something that's fun too.