Ultrasound images reveal what smoking does to unborn babies

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

A study of ultrasound scans is revealing how the development of unborn babies can be affected when their mothers smoke during pregnancy.

Research conducted by Durham University, Lancaster University and Dr. Nadja Reissland monitored 20 mothers, four of whom smoked an average of 14 cigarettes a day.

Ultrasound scans of unborn babies whose mothers smoked showed a “significantly higher” rate of mouth movement than the normal declining rate of movements expected in a healthy fetus.

Researchers said one reason might be the fetal central nervous system did not develop at the same rate and in the same manner as in fetuses of mothers who did not smoke during pregnancy.

“Fetal facial movement patterns differ significantly between fetuses of mothers who smoked compared to those of mothers who didn’t smoke,” said Dr. Reissland.

Similar to other studies, research shows maternal stress and depression also have a significant impact on fetal movements, but the increase in mouth and touch movements was even higher in babies whose mothers smoked during pregnancy.

“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,” said co-author Brian Francis, of Lancaster University. “This is yet further evidence of the negative effects of smoking in pregnancy.”

The babies involved in the study were all clinically assessed and were healthy when they were born, according to Durham University.

Researchers said additional studies are needed to examine the relationship between smoking and fetal development.

5 comments

  • ANOTHERBOB

    Some expectant mothers are reluctant to use cold medicine for fear it could harm their babies.
    Some expectant mothers drink alcohol and deliver babies with fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.
    Some expectant mothers use drugs and deliver crack babies.
    Some third world expectant mothers think smoking might be healthy for their unborn children.

    • miles (dave)

      some expectant mothers are not very selfish and choose to error on the side of care and concern for there children
      some expectant mothers are more selfish than others and there children pay the price
      some expectant mothers are much much more selfish than others and there children pay a bigger price
      some third world expectant mothers are not well educated on the subject of smoking and its effects on therechildren

      this is how i processed what you said :)

    • miles (dave)

      people dont have to be mothers to be correct, they only need to be correct to be correct.

      and you dont have to take our words for it, surly you believe the warnings from the surgeon general on the packages,

      dont get me wrong im not telling you its fun or easy to get off those things, seen as they are engineered to be addictive (i have never smoked anything but i have enough friends who have then quit and i believe there stories) but you cant look at all the reasons we have to believe they are bad for almost everything, especially children. and then tell me your thinking of doing what is best for the children as you take another drag. even if you have convinced your self that its only hurting your self (which thats total garbage) you still cant say its unselfish to die much earlier of very expensive diseases that you dont have the funding to take care of and your loved ones struggle and scrape together money to supply the most basic of care for you, only to want to care for you even more. this keeps them up at night, and you know what they are doing, they are thinking about you, about why, about what they can do, about what it would be like if you didnt do this to your self, as much as they love you part of them is very upset that you would be so selfish, you knew better and you did it anyway.

      i love my mother very very much and she loves me too, but that dosnt make up for the fact that me and my brother and her would have been much better off if she didnt smoke

Comments are closed.