For years, doctors have been adamant about not smoking while pregnant. But just how bad is it?
A study led by Dr. Nadja Reissland in Durham University’s Department of Psychology looked twenty different fetuses over the course of twelve weeks.
Four of those fetuses belonged to mothers who smoked upwards of fourteencigarettes a day.
Every three weeks, researchers would take a 4D ultrasound of the fetuses.
Here is what they found:
There is a SIGNIFICANT difference in facial movement patterns between fetuses of mothers who smoked compared to those of mothers who didn’t smoke.
According to Durham University, scans revealed that fetuses exposed to smoke have a significantly higher rate of mouth movements. The fetuses also showed a higher rate of facial touching, but less significant than that of mouth movements.
Babies mouth movements and facial touching is supposed to decrease as they develop in the womb.
It’s believed that the fetal central nervous system of those exposed to cigarette smoke don’t develop at the same rate as those not exposed to smoke.
Previous studies also revealed that fetuses exposed to smoke show a delay in speech processing abilities.
Professor Brian Francis, who co-authored the study, says the results give a better idea of the ill effects of smoking while pregnant.
“Technology means we can now see what was previously hidden, revealing how smoking affects the development of the fetus in ways we did not realize. This is yet further evidence of the negative effects of smoking in pregnancy.”
Thankfully, all the fetuses involved in this study were healthy when born.