Recent research released overwhelming images that show the effects of smoking during pregnancy.
With the help of 4D ultrasound, researchers from Durham University found that the fetuses to mothers who smoke have a higher rate of mouth movement and touching of their face, compared to the fetuses to non-smokers. The researchers suggest that this may be due to the fact that the central nervous system of fetuses, which controls movement in general, and especially facial movement, doesn’t develop in the same way and at the same time as does the central nervous system in fetuses to mothers who didn’t smoke during pregnancy.
“Our findings show that nicotine has a greater impact on the developing fetus than stress and depression,” said Dr. Nadia Risland in a press release.
The study involved 20 infants, 4 of whom were born to mothers who smoke 16 cigarettes a day, and the remaining 16 to non-smoking mothers. The researchers observed 80 4D ultrasound images taken at four different intervals between 24 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. All babies were healthy at birth, but researchers did notice differences in fetal behavior during pregnancy.
However, the researchers emphasize that this has only been a pilot study and that other studies are necessary to confirm and further explain the link between smoking, stress and depression of the mother and the development of the fetus.