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Foetal mouth movements: Effects of nicotine

Froggatt, Suzanne; Reissland, Nadja; Covey, Judith; Kumardendran, Kumar

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Kumar Kumardendran


Aim: To assess whether fetal mouth movement frequency changes across gestation and whether there are differences between cigarette and e-cigarette exposure conditions in comparison to a non-exposed group of fetuses. Method: Pregnant women underwent 4-dimensional (4D) fetal ultrasound scans at 32-weeks (106 scans) and 36-weeks gestational age (87 scans) at James Cook University Hospital, UK. The 4D scans were coded using the Fetal Observable Movement System (FOMS). Measures of maternal smoking status, stress, depression, anxiety, attachment and time of scan were also collected. There were four exposure groups: non-smokers, light smokers (<10 per day), heavy smokers (11-20 per day), and e-cigarette users. Results: No significant differences in relative frequency of mouth movements between the exposure groups at 32- and 36-weeks gestational age were found. Fetal mouth movements declined from 32 to 36 weeks gestation for non-exposed and e-cigarette exposed fetuses. Conclusion: Due to variability in fetal behaviour, examining mouth movements alone may not be the most appropriate method for assessing group differences. However, in line with other research, mouth movement frequency declined between 32- and 36-weeks gestational age. A combination of fetal behavioural assessments are needed to assess the effects of cigarette and e-cigarette exposure on fetal neurobehavioural development.


Froggatt, S., Reissland, N., Covey, J., & Kumardendran, K. (2021). Foetal mouth movements: Effects of nicotine. Acta Paediatrica: Nurturing the Child, 110(11), 3014-3020.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 22, 2021
Online Publication Date Jul 29, 2021
Publication Date 2021-11
Deposit Date Jul 22, 2021
Publicly Available Date Jul 30, 2021
Journal Acta paediatrica
Print ISSN 0803-5253
Electronic ISSN 1651-2227
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 110
Issue 11
Pages 3014-3020


Published Journal Article (Advance online version) (636 Kb)

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Copyright Statement
Advance online version © 2021 The Authors. Acta Paediatrica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Foundation Acta Paediatrica.

This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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