‘Growing up in Ireland’ is a government-funded study that has followed the development of thousands of children all over the country. The first part of the study relates to data collected on 11,100 nine month old infants.
Smoking during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of pregnancy complications such as pre-term delivery, low birth weight, placenta praevia, poorer lung functioning in infants and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (cot death).
The study found that:
- 18 per cent of mothers said they had smoked at least at some stage during their pregnancy
- 13 per cent smoked in all three trimesters
- Mothers born in Ireland had higher rates of smoking in pregnancy (20 per cent) than those born in other countries (13 per cent)
- Mothers with the lowest levels of education were the most likely to have smoked at some stage in pregnancy (40 per cent)
- Semi-skilled/unskilled social class (33 per cent), the lowest-fifth income income group (33 per cent)
The report suggests that 70 per cent of the mothers of nine month old children are married, and 15 per cent are living with a partner.
Of those included in the study, 27 per cent of mothers and 24 per cent of fathers were not born in Ireland.