NEW ORLEANS, June 11 (UPI) — Hardships endured by women when they were children have been linked to an increased risk of a negative pregnancy outcome, U.S. researchers say.
Emily W. Harville of Tulane University in New Orleans and colleagues studied 4,865 women who experienced at least one hardship — such as father neglect or financial trouble or smoking — during childhood, and then gave birth to at least one child by age 41.
The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, finds for women in their first pregnancy, 7.9 percent gave birth to a low-birth weight baby; 7.5 percent gave birth more than three weeks early; and 39 percent of women had smoked at some point during their first pregnancy.
“Our findings suggest that mothers who have experienced childhood hardship are more likely to smoke during pregnancy,” the study authors say in a statement. “They also more often give birth to low-birth weight babies who are born prematurely, but this association may be primarily due to health behaviors and associated social class.”
Premature and low-birth babies can affect a child’s health for a lifetime.
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