April 19, 2007

More Help is Needed for Pregnant Women Who Smoke

Increased stress in a baby's life, including a parent's own battles with mental illnesses such as depression, can impact the development of the baby's brain and affect the child's own mental health status. Because increased stress early in life can lead to worsening of many conditions, including brain disorders such as schizophrenia, later in life, we sometimes write about helping parents in order to help the children and avoid some preventable mental health problems, or mitigate their seriousness, later in life.

We know that smoking during pregnancy is bad for the unborn child's health, and some people may not understand why some women persist in smoking during pregnancy. But new research, written in PsychiatryMatters.MD, is revealing that about half of those pregnant women who smoke have at least one mental disorder themselves.

In fact, the study shows that pregnant women who are "nicotine dependent" are more than 3 times more likely than pregnant women who do not smoke to have a mental disorder. Also, it was observed that:

Nicotine dependence also increased the risk for major depression or panic disorder, with odds ratios of 2.07 and 3.1, respectively.

This is very important because having these disorders (anxiety and depression) cuts down the success rate of smokers' attempts to quit.

The authors, Goodwin et al, in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, recommend that in addition to regular prenatal care, outreach programs are needed for pregnant women who smoke to address the treatment needs for both nicotine dependence as well as the mental health issues. Say the authors:

"Our results suggest an association between mental disorders and nicotine dependence among pregnant women in the United States. This association has far-reaching implications for both the mental and physical health of women and potentially for their children."

Read the full article: Smoking in pregnancy linked to mental health problems
Original Source: Mental Disorders and Nicotine Dependence Among Pregnant Women in the United States

Related Reading:
Schizophrenia Risk Rises When Child Has ADHD Plus Relative With Disorder

Childcare, Genetics, Epigenetics and Schizophrenia

Prenatal Doctor's Visit may be Three Months Too Late


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