If you are still a smoker despite all the warnings and health hazards, just take a look at this research and we promise it'll make you want to throw your cigarettes straight into the trash. And then you'll want to throw that trash can into a larger trash can. And then you'll want to set that larger trash can on fire. And then throw it into the ocean. Basically, you'll want to quit smoking because the results are that disturbing.
Obviously, we're giving you the benefit of the doubt and assuming that you aren't smoking while pregnant with a human being, but you definitely still need to check out the results of this study done by Durham and Lancaster universities.
Researchers performed 80 ultrasounds on 20 babies between weeks 24 and 36 of the pregnancy. 16 of the 20 babies had non-smoking mothers and four had smoking mothers, who on average smoked 14 cigarettes a day.
You can probably guess by the photo above which ultrasounds represent the babies who had smoking mothers and which had non-smoking mothers. If you can't, the images of the babies covering their faces and mouths while visibly grimacing (top row) are the ones who had to get daily servings of cigarette smoke. But we're not an expert (unless the subject is worshippingTaylor Swift and mocking Justin Bieber), so if you want an explanation from an actual scientist, let's turn it over to lead author Dr. Nadja Reissland.
"Fetal facial movement patterns differ significantly between fetuses of mothers who smoked compared to those of mothers who didn't smoke," Dr. Reissland said. "Our findings concur with others that stress and depression have a significant impact on fetal movements, and need to be controlled for, but additionally these results point to the fact that nicotine exposure per se has an effect on fetal development over and above the effects of stress and depression."
"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," co-author professor Brian Francis added. "This is yet further evidence of the negative effects of smoking in pregnancy."
As for the pregnant mothers who smoked cigarettes for the study, Dr. Reissland is extremely thankful they were able to partake in the study in order to further important research.
"I'm really grateful, they did a good thing," she told The Telegraph. "These are special people and they overcame the stigma to help others."
By the way, those babies grimacing and covering their faces in response to the cigarette smoke? That's basically how non-smokers always want to react when they get hazardous smoke blown in their face. Just saying.