Maternal Smoking during Pregnancy and Newborn Neurobehavior: Effects at 10 to 27 Days

Laura R. Stroud, Rachel L. Paster, George D. Papandonatos, Raymond Niaura, Amy L. Salisbury, Cynthia Battle, Linda L. Lagasse, Barry Lester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: To examine effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy on newborn neurobehavior at 10 to 27 days. Study design: Participants were 56 healthy infants (28 smoking-exposed, 28 unexposed) matched on maternal social class, age, and alcohol use. Maternal smoking during pregnancy was determined by maternal interview and maternal saliva cotinine. Postnatal smoke exposure was quantified by infant saliva cotinine. Infant neurobehavior was assessed through the NICU Network Neurobehavioral Scale. Results: Smoking-exposed infants showed greater need for handling and worse self-regulation (P < .05) and trended toward greater excitability and arousal (P < .10) relative to matched, unexposed infants (all moderate effect sizes). In contrast to prior studies of days 0 to 5, no effects of smoking-exposure on signs of stress/abstinence or muscle tone emerged. In stratified, adjusted analyses, only effects on need for handling remained significant (P < .05, large effect size). Conclusions: Effects of maternal smoking during pregnancy at 10 to 27 days are subtle and consistent with increased need for external intervention and poorer self-regulation. Along with parenting deficits, these effects may represent early precursors for long-term adverse outcomes from maternal smoking during pregnancy. That signs of abstinence shown in prior studies of 0- to 5-day-old newborns did not emerge in older newborns provides further evidence for the possibility of a withdrawal process in exposed infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-16
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Pediatrics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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