low birth weights are more likely to have physical and mental problems later in life.
“Historically, the literature has focused on risk factors operative within the prenatal or immediate preconception period,” explained study leader Jennifer Kane, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of California, Irvine.
“A key contribution of our report is that we look further back in time – before women even become pregnant – and identify earlier maternal life events and risk factors that could set in motion a series of events that ultimately lead to poor health at birth among offspring,” she added in a university news release.
Researchers analyzed data from a long-term U.S. government study of nearly 21,000 women who were seventh- through 12th-graders in 1994-95. The researchers linked a chain of risks to low birth weight: teen smoking; poor grades in high school; having children without being married; depression; and binge drinking.
Of those risk factors, smoking during