Smoking mothers of the world listen up! It’s more important than ever to quit smoking during pregnancy . . . unless you want to have criminals for children.
A new study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Healthhas found a correlation between maternal smoking in pregnancy and a higher incidence of crime in the children once they grew up. To simplify, women who smoke during pregnancy became the future moms of adult criminals!
So unless you want to be visiting your kids in prison for Thanksgiving or Christmas, you better break that bad smoking habit before you get pregnant!
Previous studies have linked maternal smoking during pregnancy to causing behavior and attention problems in kids and teenagers. But this new study, just released this week, finds a longer-term consequence of smoking in pregnancy.
New Study: Smoking in Pregnancy Linked to Adult Criminal Activity
Researchers from Harvard University and Brown University reviewed the health and criminal records of close to 4,000 American adults between the ages of 33 and 40. The pregnant mothers of these adults were interviewed from 1959 and 1966 – a time in history when smoking during pregnancy wasn’t considered unhealthy. Blood samples were also taken from these pregnant women, which were tested by the researchers in this study to verify that the moms smoked the amount they claimed. (Researchers believed that this data was more accurate than collecting data today, because smoking in pregnancy wasn’t a taboo subject then.)
In 1999 and 2000, when all of the children of these women had reached age 33, an adult criminal record check was performed. The researchers looked at the arrest records of the children and compared this with the amount that the women smoked in pregnancy.
To prevent any confounding factors, the researchers controlled confounding factors, such as parents’ educational levels and their own antisocial behavior.
After reviewing all the data, the researchers found that maternal smoking during pregnancy increased the likelihood of future criminal activity in the children.
Heavy Smokers During Pregnancy at Higher Risk of Criminal Children
In fact, compared to moderate smokers, women who smoked heavily in pregnancy (more than 20 cigarettes a day) were more likely to have adult kids who had an arrest record. The children of the heavy smokers during pregnancy were 30 percent more likely to have been arrested, compared to the adult children of light smokers or nonsmokers.
The researchers also argue that maternal smoking during pregnancy may be a risk factor in adults with multiple arrests.
The findings in this new research study found that the impact of smoking in pregnancy was the same for both genders — i.e. smoking when you’re pregnant affects both boys and girls.
Do You Need Another Reason to Quit?
Since the researchers controlled for other causal factors – i.e. educational levels – you can’t say that the link between smoking during pregnancy and future criminal activity in adult children is because 100 percent due to socioeconomic factors, poor education, etc.
Here are other reasons why you should never smoke during pregnancy:
- Smoking in pregnancy increases your risk of having a miscarriage.
- Pregnant women who smoke are more likely to have pregnancy complications – including premature rupture of the membranes (your water breaking before your baby is ready to be born).
- Smoking during pregnancy increases your baby’s risk of having a birth defect.
- Babies who are born to smoking moms tend to have a low birth weight (under 5 pounds).
- The babies of smokers are 1/3rd more likely to be stillborn, and they’re more likely to die in the first week of life.
- Maternal smoking in pregnancy puts the baby at increased risk of SIDS – Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.
Need I go on? The bottom line – smoking during pregnancy has too many negative effects, so don’t smoke when you’re expecting.
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