The nervous system may be more susceptible to environmental toxicants, such as second-hand smoke, during prenatal development.
Researchers looked at data on mother-and-infant pairs and determined prenatal and postnatal exposures to second-hand smoke using maternal self-reports. Examiners without access to this data then assessed the infants at six months of age.
Second-hand smoke exposure during pregnancy was found to be associated with a decrease in the infants’ mental developmental index score and an increase in the risk of developmental delay at six months.
The authors concluded more public awareness and health education programs are required to address the harmful effects of second-hand smoke exposure on the developing fetus for pregnant women. Future research should also determine whether the cognitive deficit revealed in this study has a long-term effect.Read more at Environmental Research