4D ultrasound study shows effects of smoking while pregnant

Ultrascans showing a foetus with a smoking mother (top) and non-smoking mother (bottom). (Photo courtesy: The Independent/ Durham and Lancaster Universities)

A newly released study is shedding light on the effects of smoking while pregnant and shows that the studied fetuses of smokers made different movements to fetuses in the wombs of non-smoking mothers.

Using 4D ultrasound scans, scientists at James Cook University Hospital in the UK found that the unborn babies of four smoking mothers-to-be touched their faces more often than the 16 fetuses with non-smoking mothers in the study pool.

Dr. Nadja Reissland studied the 4D ultrasound scans of 20 expectant mothers, noting thousands of movements made by the fetuses at 24, 28, 32 and 36 weeks.

According to The Independent, fetuses normally touch themselves and move their mouths, however, the results of the study indicate that “mothers who smoke may delay the development of their babies’ central nervous systems.”

“A larger study is needed to confirm these results and to investigate specific effects, including the interaction of maternal stress and smoking,” Dr Reissland told the newspaper.

Previous research has found that smoking pregnant mothers risk damaging their unborn children’s hearts.

Dr. Nadja Reissland’s pilot study, which was conducted by Durham and Lancaster Universities, was published in the medical journal Acta Paediatrica.

All babies in the study were born healthy and of a normal weight.

Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46