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HOUSTON, TX - The list of things to avoid during pregnancy is lengthy, but one of the biggest warnings on that list has always been smoking.
Now, new research out of England is giving pregnant mothers a more visual explanation of how smoking affects their fetuses.
Durham and Lancaster Universities teamed up to study ultrasound photos of 20 fetuses, four babies growing inside of smoking mothers, and 16 inside non-smoking mothers. The 4-D ultrasound images from the smokers showed fetuses with their hands in front of their faces, while the images from the non-smokers showed fetuses with hands away from the face.
The images lead researchers to believe that the fetal central nervous system was slower to develop in smoke-exposed babies than in smoke-free babies.
Researchers stressed that this study was a pilot study and larger studies will better identify the effects of smoking and fetal development.