- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Of the myriad of negative health consequences from women smoking during pregnancy, severe mental illness in their offspring is not one of them, a new study found.

According to a population- and family-based study of nearly 1.7 million Swedish babies, researchers in the U.S. and Sweden found no association between women who self-reported smoking during pregnancy and instances of severe mental illness in their children.

Severe mental illness was defined as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia spectrum disorder and was measured by reported inpatient or outpatient treatment visits.

The study was published Wednesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association Psychiatry.

Subjects were also compared to other family members, including siblings and cousins, for instances of severe mental illness to “account for unmeasured genetic and environmental” factors, the authors wrote.

To account for every mental illness, the researchers suggest more helpful information can be found by comparing physiological and environmental factors among siblings.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that smoking during pregnancy can lead to premature birth, birth defects such as cleft lip or cleft palate, and sudden infant death syndrome.

The study said that eight percent of U.S. women smoke during pregnancy.

In a 2013 Pregnancy Risk Assessment and Monitoring System survey, over 30,000 women reported smoking during the last three months of their pregnancy.

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