Smoking while Pregnant Causes Psychological Troubles in the Children

Smoking woman

A new Finnish study reveals that women who smoke during pregnancy cause psychological problems in their children, forcing them to take medications like stimulants, antidepressants and drugs for addiction. The researchers say this new evidence should motivate women not to smoke during pregnancy. These findings were published recently in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

The Children Develop Psychological Issues
The researchers found that babies exposed to smoking in the womb were more likely to develop both severe and mild psychiatric morbidity in childhood. The scientists analyzed data of about 175,000 Finnish children born between 1987 to 1989. These records were matched with usage of insurance covered prescription drugs between 1994 to 2007, when the babies would have reached childhood.

Greater Smoking Leads to Higher Risk for Children
The researchers found that 11% of children whose mothers smoked less than 10 cigarettes a day during pregnancy were on psychiatric medication. This increased to 14% among children whose mothers had smoked more than 10 cigarettes per day during pregnancy.

Effects of Secondhand Smoke on Children
The most common drugs used by the children were those that treat hyperactivity, attention problems and addiction. Health experts opine this study reflects the findings of other researches on the effects of secondhand smoke on children’s mental health. The researchers say nicotine can impact brain development or oxygen access may be denied to the fetus when pregnant women smoke. One new finding was the fact that depression medications were also used by some affected children.

The researchers say since few women smoke only during pregnancy, the effects of later smoking by parents on their growing children cannot be differentiated.

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