Smoking while pregnant may lead to behavioral issues

by Missy Jaramillo

Most people already know that smoking is unacceptable during pregnancy, but this doesn't stop some women who're already addicted to nicotine from lighting up after they conceive. In many cases, it's difficult for smokers to quit on a whim, regardless of how it may affect fetal development. Now, new research suggested that it may affect infants in more ways than one once they're out of the womb, according to Reuters.

Researchers from the University of Leicester in the U.K. recently released the results of a study that showed how smoking during pregnancy can impact children later in life. They discovered that women who smoke while pregnant had a higher chance of giving birth to a baby with behavioral problems. The experts also found that these individuals were more likely to condone poor behavior in children, which contributed to the issue.

"The evidence is emerging that smoking in pregnancy and the frequency of smoking in pregnancy is correlated with developmental outcomes after [children] are born," Gordon Harold, the lead author of the study, told the news source.

Harold went on to say that they haven't been able to determine exactly how smoking during pregnancy has an effect on the future behavior of children, but they aren't ruling out any possibilities. The researchers also went on to say that life after birth can play a critical role in the behavior of little ones.

"It's illuminating the prenatal period as having an ongoing influence on outcomes," Harold told the news source. "We're not saying life after birth is no longer relevant ... Rather, both influences are clearly important."

How can smoking affect my baby?

If you choose to use cigarettes while expecting, you put your baby at risk of several health complications. Smoking can reduce the amount of oxygen that gets to your baby, as well as the nutrients that make their way to him or her. Some of the side effects of smoking while pregnant may include vaginal bleeding, problems in the placenta and preterm labor. Once the baby is born, there's also a higher risk of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, asthma and obesity. You can avoid these complications by simply steering clear of cigarettes before, during and after pregnancy.

How have you quit cigarettes in the past? Did you find it difficult to kick the habit once you conceived? Leave your feedback in the comments section!