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Pregnant women who smoke: your babies are at risk of developing ADHD

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Intuitively speaking, most people understand on some level that smoking whilst you’re pregnant can’t be good for your unborn foetus. But a new review of medical studies has shed some light on the specific side effects of pregnant women who smoke whilst they’re carrying a child; this is found to increase the chances of women giving birth to children who will go on to develop Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Pregnant women who smoke 60% more likely to have a child with ADHD

According to the study, pregnant women who smoke have a 60% higher risk of having a child with ADHD (as compared to women who abstain from smoking). There is also a disparity between moderate smokers and heavy smokers – women who smoke moderately (defined as having fewer than 10 cigarettes per day) have a 54% higher risk of having a child with ADHD, and women who smoke heavily have a 75% higher risk of having the same.

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Review includes 20 studies involving 3 million participants

Whilst it’s not the first time that a study on the link between smoking and ADHD has been published, what this new review of 20 studies does is to pool together data from multiple countries (not just from the US and Europe, but also from Australia, Japan, and other countries). According to Doctor Dezhi Mu and his colleagues at West China Second University Hospital in Chengdu, China, a total of nearly 3 million participants were involved in these 20 studies; this increases the robustness of the findings.

Link between fathers who smoke and children who develop ADHD

Out of the 20 studies which were reviewed, data from seven of the studies also showed that there was a 20% higher risk of ADHD in children who were born to fathers who smoked. As such, Doctor Mu and his colleagues are urging not just pregnant women, but all couples who are trying to conceive, to wean themselves off smoking in the shortest possible time.

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Advice for couples who smoke, and are trying to get pregnant

Couples who are trying to quit smoking in order to have a baby might consider using Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) such as nicotine gum, skin patches, lozenges or inhalers. These release small amounts of nicotine into your body, which helps with cravings and withdrawal symptoms. If you’re not confident of your ability to quit cold turkey, NRT is a great alternative to reduce your reliance on smoking, day by day. These may be purchased at pharmacies across Singapore, without a prescription.

Other than NRT, there are also certain medications which boost the levels of chemical messengers in the brain. These essentially reduce your nicotine withdrawal symptoms, and make it easier for you to quit smoking. Whilst they aren’t available over-the-counter, you may see a doctor and get a prescription for them.

Fertility consultation with BeNatural’s fertility coach, Marie Otsuka

If you and your partner would like to learn more about conceiving, come down for a 45-minute consultation with Marie Otsuka, BeNatural’s fertility coach. In this session, Marie will seek to understand the couple’s situation, and offer insights she’s gained through her 10 years of experience in working with infertile Singaporeans. Slots are limited and on a first come first serve basis; contact us here to schedule an appointment!

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