Effects of Prenatal Smoking on Child Neurodevelopment Might be Worse than Feared

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In a recent study conducted by researchers, the latter found out those babies, who come from smoking mother, while giving birth maybe subjected to delays on developing their neurological development.  The new study also found out that the effect on the newly born child is stronger than what researchers earlier thought.

Based on the study, published in the Journal of Human Capital, smoking might change as much as 40 percentage point increase in the possibility of being at risk of developmental problems in babies between 3 and 24 months old. The consequences were strongest among with that belongs to needy families.

Professor at the University of Iowa’s College of Public Health and the study’s lead author, George Wehby says the study emphasizes the dangers of prenatal smoking.   The researchers are hoping that their researchers also stress the need for sustained efforts so that the expectant mothers would stay away from smoking.

Participants come from health clinics in Argentina, Brazil, and Chile. In all, virtually 1,600 children included, so that the study will be among the largest study of its kind for prenatal smoking and neurodevelopment. The researchers conducted the study to mothers with regards to their smoking habits, and neurological screening, including cognitive tests and assessments of interaction and basic neurological function, administered to children by trained physicians.

There  is about 11 percent of the participants that had smoke while they were expecting.

Wehby said that one of the reasons, why smoking affects poor children to a greater degree is that poor mothers who smoke has a habit of smoking in greater as proven by the study. However, the number of cigarettes has nothing to do with the effects. Having a higher socioeconomic status may compensate for the harmful smoking effects since they have better health behaviors and better access to prenatal care.

The researchers noted that earlier studies have already found out about the similar adverse effects of prenatal smoking; however, nothing  been done about isolating the smoking effect that comes from other potentially confounding factors.  For instance, mothers who smoke may also have a habit of drinking as well as engaging in other activities that might potentially harm their babies. If that is the case, following studies may misjudge the adverse effects of cigarettes. Then again, women who have a high-risk pregnancy have an extra motivation in avoiding cigarettes, but might still gave birth to babies with reduced neurodevelopment. If that happens, then studies might underrate result of smoking.