New 4D Ultrasound Scans Reveal The Effects Of Smoking During Pregnancy
According to a study from Durham University, when pregnant women smoke, the effects can be seen in the small movements of their unborn babies, IFL Science reported. Researchers observed hundreds of touch and mouth movements in 80 4D ultrasound scans of 20 fetuses. Sixteen fetuses belonged to non-smokers, while four fetuses belonged to women who smoked 14 cigarettes per day. Researchers took out the scans at four different intervals between 24 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. They also asked the women to complete questionnaires about depression and stress.
Scientists discovered that the fetuses of smokers showed higher rates of mouth movements and self-touching than fetuses of women who did not smoke. Normally, fetuses touch themselves and move their mouths less as they gain more control the nearer they get to birth. The study showed that fetuses carried by women who smoked may have delayed development of the central nervous system.
Reissland, who led the study, said that the images indicate that fetuses in women who smoked are less mature in their behavior. She further said that more studies are needed to confirm the findings. All of the babies in the study were born healthy, and were of normal weight and size.