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Researchers: Smoking While Pregnant May Lead To Behavioral Problems In Children

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File photo of a pregnant woman holding her stomach. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

File photo of a pregnant woman holding her stomach. (Photo by Ian Waldie/Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, smoking cigarettes while pregnant could lead to multiple health issues for the baby, including low birth weight, premature birth, and even stillbirth.

The official website of the CDC also warns that expectant mothers who smoke are increasing the risk of sudden infant death syndrome.

In addition to issues relating to the birth and first weeks of life for the child as far as health is concerned, a new study had found that smoking during pregnancy could have longer-lasting effects on how the child behaves as well.

The study, led by Gordon Harold of the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, strengthens the relationship between mothers smoking while with child and behavioral issues as that child grows.

“The evidence is emerging that smoking in pregnancy and the frequency of smoking in pregnancy is correlated with developmental outcomes after [children] are born,” Harold was quoted as saying.

According to Reuters, other studies had tried to make the connection, but were unable to ignore the potential influences of other factors. In order to address the potential influences brought up by other experts, including genetics or parenting techniques, researchers in this study chose to also incorporate children being raised by adoptive parents after their birth mothers – who smoked during pregnancy – gave them up.

Data from three studies from three different nations – the United States, the United Kingdom and New Zealand – was compiled and examined by the team, the news service learned.

Researchers found through their analysis of the data and the use of an equalizing ratings scale that the children of mothers who smoked while they were pregnant were more likely to experience difficulty focusing in classes or to get into fights with other children, a factor that was reportedly seen in all three regional studies.

“It’s illuminating the prenatal period as having an ongoing influence on outcomes,” Harold said to Reuters. “We’re not saying life after birth is no longer relevant … rather, both influences are clearly important.”

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