A would-be mother harms her unborn child when she smokes, but a recent study on ScienceDaily.com shows that mothers exposed to second hand smoke, or environmental tobacco smoke (ETS), may give birth to a child affected by similar risks.

Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing worked with 646 mother-child pairs in China, a country known for its high smoking population. Children's behaviors were assessed using the Child Behavioral Checklist (CBCL), which revealed that kids whose mothers were exposed to ETS during pregnancy were more likely to develop behavioral problems by 10 percent, as compared to those who weren't.

The researchers also discovered that a total of 25 percent of children who had prenatally been exposed to ETS had behavioral problems, in contrast to the 16 percent of those who were not exposed.

Behavioral problems caused by second-hand smoke included attention problems, below average language skills, and even aggression.

This highlights the importance of awareness of proper prenatal care among mothers, especially those in densely populated areas where smoking is considered legit in public places.

If you're an expectant mother, avoid people who smoke. If someone in your household is hooked to the habit, it's best to ask them to light up somewhere else. This way, you can safeguard your child's physical and mental health.

(Photo by Bruce via Flickr Creative Commons)

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