Smoking during pregnancy affects newborn behavior

December 1, 2008

Babies who are exposed to maternal smoking during pregnancy are more likely to have poor self-regulation and require greater external intervention.

Babies who are exposed to maternal smoking during pregnancy are more likely to have poor self-regulation and require greater external intervention, according to a study published online Nov. 6 in the Journal of Pediatrics.

Laura R. Stroud, PhD, of Brown University in Providence, RI, and colleagues conducted a study of 56 healthy infants, of whom 28 had been exposed to maternal smoking, which was determined by maternal interview and saliva cotinine. The two subgroups were matched according to maternal social class, age, and alcohol use.

The newborns' neurobehavior was observed at 10 to 27 days of age. Among the smoking-exposed infants, there was a moderately greater need for handling, worse self-regulation, greater excitement, and arousal compared to their counterparts not exposed to maternal smoking, the researchers found.

Stroud LR, Paster RL, Papandonatos GD, et al. Maternal smoking during pregnancy and newborn neurobehavior: Effects at 10 to 27 days. J Pediatrics. Published online 06 November 2008 at: http://www.jpeds.com/article/PIIS0022347608006288/abstract/