Maternal Smoking During Pregnancy

Literature Review

A report by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2004) illustrates that smoking of cigarettes by pregnant mothers affects both the mother and the unborn child. Research indicates that the habit may cause problems such as sudden infant death syndrome, still birth, premature rapture of the membranes and low birth weight. Smoking is a common phenomenon in United States as results of a study which was conducted in United States illustrate that about 11.4% of all the women who gave birth that year had been smoking.  García-Algar, Puig, Vall, Pacifici, & Pichini (2004) also conducted a study on maternal cigarette smoking. Their results also indicated that low birth weight was a common occurrence among babies born to smokers compared to non smokers. The same studies illustrated that neonatal withdrawal syndrome was a common occurrence among newborns exposed prenatal smoking. This was due to the fact that the study confirmed the existence of neotoxic effects on newborns exposed to smoking.

Similar to other studies which have been conducted, studies of Karen (2001) report that maternal smoking is closely associated with intrauterine growth retardation, low birth weight, small head circumference and still births as well as neonatal death. The results of the study which was conducted to investigate on the effect of the maternal smoking when all the outcomes are considered indicated that the habit is accountable for a lot of negative delivery outcomes that are being observed currently.  The study and others which have been conducted illustrate that maternal smoking affected reproduction not only due to the fact that it leads to infertility but aslo because it is a great contributor to negative delivery outcome.

Research Question

In the view of the fact that studies have illustrated that there is a positive association between maternal smoking and negative delivery outcome, it is necessary to find out whether the same habit contributes to a low IQ.  This is due to the fact that a lot of negative outcomes of maternal smoking may also be closely associated to problems of cognitive development. It is equally important to find out whether low IQ is as a result of the effects of smoking on the fetal growth. The study is very significant because the link between maternal smoking and neural development has not been studied comprehensively.  The available information only illustrates that   maternal smoking only increases the likely hood of behavioral problems and has got an effect on cognitive development.

Testable hypothesis

Smoking by pregnant mothers has got an effect on cognitive development of children.  This is due to the fact that evidence has confirmed that maternal smoking leads to low birth weight and the same affects cognitive development negatively.

Problems Identified and Anticipated In Data Interpretation

All studies that have been undertaken reveal different problem in areas of data analysis and interpretation and that is the reason why studies are characterized by various limitations.  For instance, in this study there is a greater likelihood that children born to mothers who smoke during pregnancy may have a low IQ.  Although the problem may be attributed to smoking, there are other factors related to a child’s IQ like the IQ of both parents and environment that may also contribute greatly. Failure to effectively control other variables that contribute to the high IQ may result to a very high percentage and the same may cause wrong interpretation. Therefore, it is possible to interpret that maternal smoking is the greatest contributor to low IQ when there are so many factors that may contribute to the same. Major factors that can lead to misinterpretation of results in this study are other independent factors that are determinants of IQ.

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