Just 10 cigarettes during pregnancy can harm kids
Babies born to women who smoked as few as 10 cigarettes are more apt to have thinking and learning problems later, a new study suggests.
Studies have long shown that babies born to smokers are likely to be premature, small and have behavior problems early on. The new research found that the negative health effects of tobacco exposure in the womb can last for years, taking a toll on teens’ executive function—learned skills involving memory, reasoning, problem-solving and planning—that are important in school and life.
Up to 8 percent of U.S. women smoke during pregnancy, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The authors said the new findings point to the need for more programs to help women of childbearing age quit smoking.
“Because tobacco is one of the most common substances used during pregnancy—and it’s legal for adults to use—these results indicate the tremendous importance of bolstering efforts to ensure that women of childbearing age and pregnant women have increased access to evidence-based tobacco smoking cessation programs,” said study first author Ruth Rose-Jacobs.
She is an associate professor of pediatrics at the Boston University School of Medicine.
For the study, Rose-Jacobs and her colleagues focused on a group of 131 teens who had been followed since before birth, and information on prenatal exposure was available. The researchers had the teens’ high school teachers complete a form assessing the students’ executive function.
Source: Medical Xpress