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Smoking during Pregnancy Results in Child’s Psychiatric Medications, Study Says

This is another reason why people, especially expecting moms, should quit smoking. Children born of mothers who smoked during pregnancy are likely to end up on antidepressants and stimulants. Researchers at the Department of Pediatrics at Finland’s Turku University Hospital say that smoking can have adverse effects on the baby’s development.

“These findings show that exposure to smoking during pregnancy is linked to both mild and severe psychiatric morbidity,” Mikael Ekblad says.

The researchers looked into the records of prescription drugs sold between 1994 and 2007 and matched them with the birth records of 175,000 children who were born between 1987 and 1989. The data also revealed if their mothers smoked during pregnancy.

Ekblad and his team found out that one in 11 children was under psychiatric medication during that period—at that time, they were aged between 5 and 20. These medications also included anti-anxiety drugs, drugs for addiction and antipsychotics.

For children born of mothers who did not smoke during pregnancy, 8 percent were at least on one psychiatric medication. On the other hand, 11 percent was comprised of children born of mothers who had fewer than ten cigarettes a day while 14 percent of the children were of mothers who puffed over ten cigarettes every day.

However, the researchers didn’t factor in whether or not the mothers themselves were on psychotropic medications or if they took illegal drugs or alcohol during pregnancy. Also, they didn’t take into account if the babies inhaled secondhand smoke from their father or mother after they were born and while their brains were still developing.


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