Smoking in early pregnancy has been shown to double the risk of the resulting children showing aggressive behaviour as 5-year-olds.
A study of more than 5000 children has clearly demonstrated that those whose mothers smoked in the first 3 months of their pregnancy were more likely to have behavioural problems. The children of mothers who quit smoking when they became pregnant had the same risk as those of non-smoking mothers.
Although the reasons for the link between aggressive behaviour and maternal smoking are not fully understood, it is thought that constituents of cigarettes, such as tobacco, may affect the developing brains of unborn children.
Last Reviewed: 02 May 2002