What your unborn baby does when you smoke is heartbreaking!

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The researchers found that fetuses whose mothers smoke exhibited a significantly higher rate of mouth movements than the normal declining rate of movements expected in a fetus during pregnancy.

The researchers found that fetuses whose mothers smoke exhibited a significantly higher rate of mouth movements than the normal declining rate of movements expected in a fetus during pregnancy.

It’s no brainer that smoking is bad. It’s also very addictive—that’s one of the reasons why it’s so hard to quit. Even pregnant mothers find it hard to quit, and so as a result continue smoking.

Latest research show, however, what smoking do to the unborn.The 4D ultrasound showed two rows of images.

The image of the fetus above is grimacing; its mom smokes an average of 14 cigarettes a day. The baby below, on the other hand, appears calm. Its mother doesn’t smoke.

Read: Pregnant women still smoke despite risks

“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 Professor Brian Francis of Lancaster University.

“This is yet further evidence of the negative effects of smoking in pregnancy.”

Based from the 4-d ultrasound scans, the researchers found that fetuses whose mothers smoke exhibited a significantly higher rate of mouth movements than the normal declining rate of movements expected in a fetus during pregnancy.

This is attributed to the fetus’ central nervous system not being able to develop at the same rate as those fetus whose mothers didn’t smoke during pregnancy.

What your unborn baby does when you smoke is heartbreaking!

Movements in a foetus whose mother is a smoker (top) and a foetus whose mother is a non-smoker (below); credit Dr Nadja Reissland, Durham University

Previous studies also reported a delay in relation to speech processing abilities in infants exposed to smoking during pregnancy, the researchers added.

Maternal stress and depression also play a significant role in fetal movement, but the increase in mouth and touch movements was even higher in babies whose mothers smoked.

This is alarming because as pregnancy progresses, such movement is expected to slow down.

“Our findings concur with others that stress and depression have a significant impact on foetal movements, and need to be controlled for, but additionally these results point to the fact that nicotine exposure per se has an effect on foetal development over and above the effects of stress and depression,” said Dr. Nadja Reissland from Durham University.

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

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