Children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy may be at increased risk for conduct problems, such as having trouble following rules or behaving in a socially acceptable way, according to the results of a large-scale review.
Researchers in England analysed data from three studies in order to assess the effect that smoking during pregnancy had on children raised by genetically related mothers and genetically unrelated mothers.
In both groups, there was a significant link between smoking during pregnancy and increased risk of conduct problems in children, the study authors reported in the July 24 online edition of the journal JAMA Psychiatry.
The findings suggest an association between smoking during pregnancy and child conduct problems that is unlikely to be fully explained by post-birth factors such as parenting practices, said Darya Gaysina, of the University of Leicester, and colleagues.
"The causal explanation for the association between smoking in pregnancy and offspring conduct problems is not known, but may include genetic factors and other prenatal environmental hazards, including smoking itself," the researchers concluded.
Previous research has shown an association between smoking during pregnancy and increased risk of psychological problems in children, the study authors said in a journal news release.
The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry has more about conduct disorders.