Kicking the habit during pregnancy may make for a happier baby
According to a recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiological and Community Health, a benefit of quitting smoking during pregnancy is the increased possibility of a cheerful and easy-going baby. Conversely, children whose mothers smoke during pregnancy are more likely to have poor adaptability and mood, which, according to Kate Pickett, Ph.D., of the University of York, are precursors of antisocial behavior. According to the researchers, quitting smoking during pregnancy generally reflects the mother’s personality and her desire to protect her child. However, there has been a great deal of debate as to whether or not babies with more pleasant dispositions can be attributed to maternal characteristics or teratological effects. The following is an excerpt of an article from Medpage Today that reviews the study:
To test the competing hypotheses, the researchers undertook a study of more than 18,000 British babies born from 2000 through 2002, who were participants in the Millennium Cohort Study.
Their mothers were classified as either non-smokers during pregnancy, quitters, light smokers, or those who smoked 10 or more cigarettes a day (heavy smokers).
The infants’ temperaments were assessed when they were nine months old, using the validated Carey Infant Temperament Scale. The test was designed to pick up positive mood, receptivity to new things, and regular sleep and eating patterns (regularity).
More than a third (35.7%) of the mothers reported smoking at some time during pregnancy, although almost half of these quit smoking. Only a small proportion of the sample (9.5%) smoked heavily throughout pregnancy.
Women who smoked through pregnancy had significantly smaller infants and shorter gestations. The women who quit smoking had infants with birth weights and gestations comparable to non-smokers.