All pregnant women hear about how harmful smoking is for their babies. Some may not believe things until they see it with their own eyes. Now with the help of a new study this is possible. Women can see for themselves the grimace of the fetus inside their womb while they lights up a cigarette. The study was conducted at the James Cook University Hospital (Britain) and published in the journal Acta Paediatrica.
Mothers have always been urged to give up smoking since it heightens the risk of respiratory problems, premature birth, cot death, miscarriage and premature labor. Not only that, but it can also prevent women from conceiving.
Using 4D ultrasound scans researchers have captured the faces of the fetuses and their reaction to the behavior of the mothers. In a small pilot study a total of 20 pregnant women were given ultrasound in order to observe the activity of the fetus at 24, 28, 32 and 36 weeks. 4 women were smokers and on average they smoked 14 cigarettes a day, whereas 16 were nonsmokers.
The 4D images revealed that the fetuses in the wombs of the smoker women frequently touched their faces and moved their mouths. Once the baby grows these behaviors should be less and less often. The fact that the rate of decline of these movements is slower than in the case of mothers who do not smoke indicates a possible underdevelopment of the central nervous system.
Dr. Nadja Reissland declared that a more detailed study is needed to verify these results and to analyze specific events. She added that both smoking and maternal stress should be taken into account. Anyway she believes that images with the difference between fetuses may encourage mother to give up smoking. Dr. Reissland thanked the mothers who participated in the study, particularly to the smokers. She said that she was especially grateful to them because they were brave enough to overcome the stigma and by doing this they helped other people. All the babies who were involved in the study were born healthy with both normal weight and size.
Professor Brian Francis of Lancaster University, co-author of the study, stated that thanks to technology, scientists now have access to things which were previously unavailable. Just like in the case of this study, when nobody would have imagined the actual effect of cigarettes on the fetus.
Image Source: Mirror
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