VANCOUVER, British Columbia, May 5 (UPI) — A pregnant woman who smokes may raise her child’s risk of developing a psychiatric disorder, Finnish researchers say.
Lead author Mikael Ekblad of Turku University Hospital in Finland linked prenatal smoking to increased likelihood of increased use of psychotropic medications — especially stimulants used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder.
Psychiatric medication use was highest in young adults whose mothers smoked more than 10 cigarettes a day during pregnancy.
“Smoking during pregnancy is still quite common even though the knowledge of its harmful effects has risen in recent years,” Ekblad says in a statement.
“By avoiding smoking during pregnancy, all the later psychiatric problems caused by smoking exposure could be prevented.”
Ekblad and colleagues collected information for all children born in Finland from 1987 to 1989 and analyzed records on their later use of psychiatric drugs and their mothers’ 1969-1989 psychiatric inpatient care.
The risk for medication use was similar in males and females, and remained after adjusting for the other risk factors — including Apgar scores, birth weight and mother’s psychiatric care.
The study was presented in Vancouver at the annual meeting of the Pediatric Academic Societies.
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