Infectious Disease

Maternal prenatal smoking associated with symptoms of behavioral disorders in offspring

17th August 2021

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According to study results published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, maternal smoking during pregnancy may increase the risk of behavioral symptoms in the offspring.

“Although the exact cause of [conduct disorder] remains unclear, it has been suggested that a combination of genetic, biological, environmental, social and psychological factors play a significant role in its development. ” Blessed Duko, from the Curtin School of Population Health at Curtin University in Australia, and colleagues wrote. “Among other factors, early factors that occur during the prenatal setting can lead to mental health and behavioral problems in the offspring by having programming effects on the fetus’s brain. Maternal prenatal tobacco exposure is one such adversity with an estimated prevalence of 20% 30%. [that] is supposed to increase the risk [for conduct disorder] in the offspring. “

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The researchers wanted to determine whether mother and father tobacco smoking during pregnancy affects the risk of behavioral disorders in offspring by the age of 14. They analyzed data from 1,747 mother-offspring and 1,711 father-offspring pairs who participated in a multigenerational cohort study in Western Australia that assessed behavioral symptoms using the DSM-oriented scale of the Child Behavior Checklist. Duko and colleagues used a negative binomial regression to estimate the rate ratios [RR] for symptoms of a behavior disorder. They also assessed exposure to tobacco smoke in the environment using paternal smoking during pregnancy as a proxy.

The results showed an increased risk of behavioral disorder symptoms in the offspring of mothers who died in the first trimester (RR = 1.52; 95% CI 1.24-1.87), in the third trimester (RR = 1.36; 95% CI, 1.09-1.69) and during both trimesters of pregnancy (RR = 1.5; 95% CI, 1.19-1.9) after the researchers adjusted for potential confounders. Although rates of behavioral disorder symptoms in the offspring increased with exposure to maternal smoking during pregnancy, Duko and colleagues found insufficient statistical evidence for an association between the father’s smoking during pregnancy and behavioral disorder symptoms in the offspring.

“Early screenings and interventions to help pregnant mothers quit or avoid smoking have the potential to produce health benefits for both mothers and their offspring,” wrote Duko and colleagues.

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