Health experts have long warned women about the many dangers to their children as a result of smoking while pregnant, including low birth weight, developmental difficulties, and even a potential for hearing loss. Now, according to an article published yesterday by Medical Xpress, a new study has linked smoking during pregnancy with bipolar disorder.
The study, which was conducted by researchers at the New York State Psychiatric Institute, Columbia University, and Kaiser Permanente, found that children of women who smoked while pregnant were twice as likely to develop bipolar disorder as adults, as opposed to children whose mothers did not smoke while pregnant.
Bipolar disorder is a serious psychological disorder in which sufferers often swing between two extremes of emotional highs and lows. People with severe cases of bipolar disorder often have difficulty maintaining regular lives and are at risk for suicide.
Although the research is preliminary and more studies will need to be done to better understand the link between smoking and bipolar disorder, these findings underscore the importance of refraining from smoking while pregnant. Women who have trouble quitting should seek professional help early in their pregnancies in order to ensure that they kick the habit before serious damage can be done to their children.