According to a study conducted at the Durham University, smoking during pregnancy affects the development of baby’s nervous system.
The study examined the differences between 20 mothers that do not smoke and mothers who light up a few cigarettes during the day. The researchers followed the development of the babies in the 24th, 28th, 32nd, and 36th week of the pregnancy and they used a 4D Ultrasound. The results showed that babies whose mothers smoke touch their face and mouth more often.
Babies of mothers who do not smoke do not touch their face that often, because they develop a stronger motion control, meaning they develop faster.
Moreover, the nervous system in babies of smoking mothers develops slowly, and they have reduced control over their motion.
“We need to do some further research to determine the connection between stress and smoking. We hope that these ultrasound recordings could stimulate future mothers to give up smoking,” says Dr Nadja Reissland, the lead author.
All babies were born healthy, and they all had normal weight. Previous studies have shown that smoking during pregnancy is often associated with premature birth, problems with the respiratory system, and in some cases even death.
“Many facts have remained hidden, but today technology helps us see things better, including the effect of cigarettes on unborn babies,” explains Professor Brian Francis, one of the researchers.