Study: Ultrasound Reveals How Fetuses React to Moms Who Smoke

The study looked at fetuses for both smoking and non-smoking women. The fetuses, whose mother's smoked, tended to touch their face more often as they developed. (Dr Nadja Reissland, Durham University)
The study looked at fetuses for both smoking and non-smoking women. The fetuses, whose mother’s smoked, tended to touch their face more often as they developed. (Dr Nadja Reissland, Durham University)

Smoking has long been known to cause complications in pregnancy but a new study aims to show how the unborn baby of a smoking mother reacts differently.

A small pilot study published earlier this week in Acta Paediatrica found that fetuses of smoking moms touch their face and mouth much more than fetuses of nonsmoking mothers.

Using high-definition, 4-D ultrasounds, researchers, led by Dr. Nadja Reissland of Durham University in the United Kingdom, investigated minute mouth and hand movements of the fetuses in both the smoking and nonsmoking mothers.

Four out of the 20 pregnancies studied involved mothers who smoked. Each woman had scans at four intervals between their 24th and 36th weeks of pregnancy.

Reissland said fetuses of the smoking mothers had a 58 percent increase of mouth movement and a 69 percent increase in self-touch, where the fetuses touched their face or head, compared to the unborn babies of women who didn’t smoke.

Reissland said previous studies have shown that mothers with high levels of stress are connected to a high level of fetal movements, also causing stress in the unborn baby.

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SOURCE: GILLIAN MOHNEY
GOOD MORNING AMERICA / ABC

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