It's no secret that smoking is bad for pregnant women. In fact, couples who are thinking of trying to conceive should curb the habit before the pregnancy test comes back positive. However, for those who need yet another reason to put their cigarettes out - yes, even if it's just the occasional one - smoking during pregnancy may be associated with children having low reading scores, Reuters reported.
Scientists find dramatic results
According to a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, babies who were exposed to maternal cigarette smoke during fetal development may do worse on reading comprehension examinations than little ones whose moms did not partake in the bad habit. In addition, the researchers from Yale University reveal that it's not just that these children perform worse, but rather that the difference between the two groups is significant.
"It's not a little difference - it's a big difference in accuracy and comprehension at a critical time when children are being assessed, and are getting a sense of what it means to be successful," lead author Jeffrey Gruen, M.D., told Reuters.
For this study, the researchers surveyed information from mothers before and after they gave birth and examined the data from approximately 5,000 kids.
There are years of evidence
This is not the first time studies have been performed to look at the association between maternal smoking and how offspring do scholastically. In particular, previous research has observed the habit's effect on a child's IQ score, academic achievement and likelihood of having behavioral disorders.
Although the disadvantages of smoking are widely known, one in six pregnant American women still smoke during pregnancy, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
The CDC also states that expecting women who light up cigarettes have an increased chance of giving birth to preterm babies or newborns that experience sudden infant death syndrome or a birth defect like a cleft lip or palate.
Do you know any women who continued to smoke while they were pregnant despite what their doctors recommended? Did they or their children experience any consequences? Let our readers know and leave your answers in the comments section!