Attention And Aggression Issues Noted

You know that you shouldn’t smoke during pregnancy, but a new study has highlighted the dangers that secondhand smoke has on babies.

Secondhand smoke and pregnancy

A new study has specifically researched the effects of secondhand smoke on pregnant women and the babies they carry, and as you might expect, the news isn’t good -- the research has uncovered that secondhand smoke has been linked to behavior problems.

Attention and aggression issues

Researchers studied 600 mother-child pairs in Jintan, China, and questioned each mom on how much secondhand smoke they were exposed to during their pregnancy, and also evaluated the children at age 5 or 6 using a common behavior scale.

Smoking by women in China is highly stigmatized and it is estimated that less than 2 percent of women there smoke -- but 37 percent of moms reported secondhand smoke exposure. Of those mothers, 25 percent of their children were found to have attention or aggression issues, while only 16 percent in the non-smoke group had behavior problems.

"Tobacco and nicotine are truly bad toxicants with lifelong consequences,” said Kim Yolton, a professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. “Pregnant women need to protect that fetus from any level of smoking exposure."

Avoiding secondhand smoke

Most cities have gone smoke-free (the city I live in, perplexedly, has not), so it should be easy to minimize your exposure while you’re out and about in public. Your home, however, can be a problem if another family member smokes. Urge them to light up outside if they aren’t keen to stop, and keep that habit up after your baby is born, because secondhand smoke and babies do not go well together at all.

Hopefully, your pregnancy and your baby will encourage your close family members to drop their cigarette smoking and you won’t have to worry about potential behavior issues 5 or 6 years down the road.

More on pregnancy health

Can you smoke while breastfeeding?
How to quit smoking when you're pregnant
Six good reasons to quit smoking today

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