Women who smoke during pregnancy more likely to have children who experience depression

New research indicates that smoking whilst pregnant may make the child more likely to suffer from depression later in life.

According to newscientists.com, researchers from Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, discovered that children with mothers who smoked whilst they were in the womb had an altered brain growth. This change in growth means those children may be more likely to develop depression and anxiety at some point in their lives.

They studied 200 children between the ages of six to eight years old, half of their mothers had smoked and half had not. Those with mothers who smoked had smaller brains and the superior frontal cortex had developed more poorly compared to children with non-smoking mothers, reports irishtimes.com.

The research also found that there was no obvious link between the number of cigarettes smoked and the child's brain development. However, if the mothers quit their habit as soon as they discovered they were pregnant, the children were much less likely to be affected by the smoking early on.

Hanan El Marroun, who led the research, said that more research is needed but it's important that children aren't exposed to tobacco.

"Overall, our findings suggest long-term effects of pre-natal tobacco exposure on brain development and emotional problems in young children," she said. "Our findings provide further support for the need of clinical and public health strategies aimed at the prevention of pre-natal tobacco exposure of children."