London, Mar 13 : A new study has indicated that women who stop smoking during pregnancy have a greater chance of giving birth to an easy-going child.
For the study, researchers used data from the Millennium Cohort Study, which followed over 18,000 UK babies born between 2000 and 2002, reports BMJ.
The mothers of these infants were categorized as either non-smokers during pregnancy, quitters, light smokers, or heavy smokers.
Researchers assessed the temperaments of the babies when they were 9 months old, using a validated scale, designed to pick up positive mood, receptivity to new things, and regular sleep and eating patterns (regularity) in infants.
They found that expecting mothers, who gave up smoking, had the most easy going infants, as compared to non-smokers and smokers.
Kids, whose mothers kicked the habit, had the lowest chances of unpredictable behaviour and of becoming distressed when faced with new situations or things.
On contrary, heavy smokers had the most difficult children, for they were much more likely to achieve the lowest scores for positive mood.
Researchers have suggested that pregnant smokers not only pass on harmful chemicals, which could affect the development of their unborn offspring but also traits and behaviours associated with their continuing to smoke during pregnancy.
However, researchers said that kicking the habit during pregnancy is linked to an urge to protect the baby and relapse rates are high after the birth.
The study is published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.