The Dominion Post 14 March 2008
Babies born to women who quit smoking in pregnancy are better behaved than the children of heavy smokers and non-smokers, a new study has found. The British study, which involved 19,000 babies born between 2000 and 2002, found that at nine months, babies whose mothers had stopped smoking while pregnant scored higher for positive moods, the ability to cope with change and had more regular sleeping and feeding patterns. Writing in the British Medical Journal yesterday, researchers from the University of York said the difference was “striking”, even taking other factors into account, such as birth weight, household income and mother’s level of education.
They suggested not only were these babies exposed to fewer toxins in the womb, but mothers who were able to stop smoking for the sake of their unborn child passed on positive characteristics such as self-restraint and the ability to change behaviour according to changing circumstances. Heavy smoking (more than 10 cigarettes a day) by mothers was associated with difficult moods in babies – an indicator of antisocial behaviour in later life. A survey by the Auckland Tobacco Control Research Centre at Auckland University suggests Kiwi midwives and doctors are not doing enough to warn women about smoking during pregnancy.