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Alcohol and smoking: effects on fetal behaviour.

Creator:

Jennifer Frances Little

Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland
Northern Ireland
Description:

Maternal alcohol consumption and smoking during pregnancy exert a teratogenic effect on the developing fetus. Both alcohol and smoking alter the behaviour of the fetus which is indicative of an effect of alcohol and smoking on the central nervous system of the fetus. This thesis compares the behaviour of fetuses exposed to maternal alcohol and/or smoking, and fetuses of mothers who do not drink or smoke, in order to examine the effect of alcohol and smoking on central nervous system functioning. The spontaneous behaviour, startle response and habituation performance of the fetus were investigated and postnatal neurobehavioral functioning assessed using a visual habituation paradigm. Fetuses exposed to alcohol exhibited deviations in all behaviours observed and habituated significantly faster than fetuses of mothers who did not drink alcohol. Fetuses exposed to maternal smoking exhibited differences in general body movements, startles and mouthing movements and took significantly longer to habituate than fetuses of mothers who did not smoke. There was significantly greater variance in the behaviour of fetuses exposed to either maternal alcohol or smoking than fetuses of non-drinking or non-smoking mothers. Postnatally, infants of mothers who drank alcohol during pregnancy spent significantly less time observing the stimulus prior to habituation than infants of mothers who did not drink during pregnancy. Infants exposed prenatally to maternal smoking spent significantly longer observing the stimulus than infants of non-smoking mothers. Maternal alcohol consumption or smoking significantly influences fetal behaviour indicating an effect on central nervous system functioning. This effect appears to be permanent as deviations remain in the postnatal period. Fetal behaviour is sensitive to alterations in central nervous system functioning induced by maternal alcohol consumption and smoking

Date:

01/01/1999

Rights: Public
Suggested citation:

Jennifer Frances Little. (1999) Alcohol and smoking: effects on fetal behaviour. [Online]. Available from: http://publichealthwell.ie/node/63664 [Accessed: 21st September 2019].

  

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Contributor:

National Drugs Library
 
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