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Feelings for fetus may vary smoking amount
Date:8/5/2013

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] A small new study suggests that pregnant smokers with low scores on a scale that rates emotional attachment to their fetuses may be inclined to smoke more than pregnant smokers who feel more attached to their future babies.

"It would make sense psychologically that women who feel less attached to their fetus are going to smoke more, because they aren't necessarily thinking about the repercussions," said Dr. Susanna Magee, lead author of the study published online July 28 in the Maternal and Child Health Journal. Magee is an assistant professor of family medicine in The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

Magee has seen evidence of that in her 12 years of clinical practice with moms-to-be as a physician at Memorial Hospital in Pawtucket, R.I. She and co-author Laura Stroud, a research associate professor of psychiatry and human behavior in the Alpert Medical School based at The Miriam Hospital, decided to study it more rigorously in a subpopulation of women participating in the Behavior and Mood in Babies and Mothers (BAM BAM) study at local hospitals.

The BAM BAM study tracks smoking during pregnancy. Subjects participate in the Timeline Follow Back interview where they are asked to recall their weekly smoking history during pregnancy. The researchers also measured particiapnts' saliva levels of the chemical cotinine, a metabolic byproduct of nicotine use that varies with the amount a person has smoked in the last day or so. The researchers sampled cotinine at weeks 30 and 35 of pregnancy and on the day after delivery.

For this study, the researchers also asked 58 pregnant smokers to answer the 24 questions of the Maternal-Fetal Attachment Scale (MFAS) at weeks 30 and 35 of gestation. The scale provides a standardized assessment of each woman's feelings about her fetus.

For analysis, Magee then divided the women into two groups of 30 and 28 based on their MFAS
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Contact: David Orenstein
david_orenstein@brown.edu
401-863-1862
Brown University
Source:Eurekalert

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