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Title: The acute effects of smoking on the behaviour of the fetus.
Author: Smith, L. A.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3447 3330
Awarding Body: Queens University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2008
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Previous research shows that fetuses of smokers exhibit reduced levels of spontaneous movement and abnormal patterns of habituation. However, much of this research has been completed on fetuses over 30 weeks gestational age, considering either the chronic or the acute effects of smoking. The present research incorporated three main studies. The first compared the acute with the chronic effects of smoking on spontaneous behaviour in fetuses at 14, 18 and 22 weeks gestational age. The second and third compared the acute with the chronic effects of smoking on fetal habituation patterns at 30 and 34 weeks gestational age. A between groups design was implemented for all studies. Study 1 monitored spontaneous fetal behaviour. Studies 2 and 3 monitored fetal reaction to a sound stimulus which was repeated ten times at 30 weeks and 20 times at 34 weeks gestation. Study 1 revealed that fetuses exposed to acute maternal smoking exhibited significantly less breathing and general body movements than both the chronicsmoking and non-smoking groups. They also exhibited significantly more startle movements. Study 2 revealed that at 30 weeks gestation, fetuses chronically exposed to smoking expressed abnormal patterns ofresponding to stimuli when compared with the fetuses of the non-smoking group, but only over the first 4 trials. Study 3 revealed that, at 34 weeks gestation, fetuses acutely exposed to smoking expressed abnormal patterns of responding compared to chronically exposed fetuses. Supplied by The British Library - 'The world's knowledge' l The findings indicate that, from 14-22 weeks gestational age, fetuses are more affected by the acute than the chronic effects of smoking. At 30 and 34 weeks gestational age, fetuses exposed to chronic-smoking are overly sensitive to sound stimuli whereas fetuses exposed to acute-smoking are under-sensitive. Differences in behaviour between the smoking groups and the non-smoking group suggest the possibility that exposure to maternal smoking impairs neurological functioning. This may be an indication oflater neuro-behavioural difficulties in child and adult-hood.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available