New 4D Ultrasound Scans Reveal Effects of Smoking on a Fetus


Health and Medicine

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4D scans show a sequence of movements displayed by two fetuses at 32 weeks gestation. The image shows fetal movements in a fetus whose mother is a smoker (top) and a fetus whose mother is a non-smoker (below) / Dr. Nadja Reissland, Durham University

When mothers-to-be smoke, the effects can be seen in the tiny movements of their fetuses, according to researchers examining high-resolution ultrasound scans. 

Healthy fetuses start out by exploring their new limbs and body parts—touching their head and face and moving their mouth in a bunch of shapes. But these movements become less frequent as their central nervous system (which controls movement) develop.