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According to new research, tobacco use by pregnant women may raise the likelihood that their children will develop some psychotic symptoms.
A study published in the October issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry suggests a link smoking during pregnancy and psychotic behavior in the child. Researchers found that about 11 percent of 12 year olds in the study have definite or suspected symptoms of psychosis, HealthDay News reports.
The scientists found that children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy were more likely to exhibit the symptoms and the correlation was strongest in those whose mothers smoked the most while pregnant.
The researchers hypothesize that a child's cognition is affected when tobacco exposure in the womb impacts brain development and function in the prenatal child.
Dr Stanley Zammit, study author and psychiatrist at Cardiff University's School of Medicine commented, "We can estimate that about 20 percent of adolescents in this cohort would not have developed psychotic symptoms if their mothers had not smoked."
According to Babycenter.com, smoking during pregnancy doubles the chance of a stillborn birth, or a child born too early or underweight.
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