Researches in the UK released a set of ultrasound photos from a study that compared smoking mothers with non-smoking mothers.

The hope is that the photos will discourage pregnant women from smoking. In the photos, on the left side you can see the baby whose mother smokes, and on the right you see that one who doesn't.

Foetuses whose mothers smoked (left) continued to show significantly higher rates of mouth movement and self-touching than those carried by non-smokers (right)

Both babies are the same gestational age. The baby on the left clearly shows an incredible amount of stress, while the baby on the right seems calm and relaxed. The results of this study are hard to deny. Anything the mother does really does effect the baby as well.

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Unborn baby shown grimacing in womb as mother smokes

The researchers are hoping the images will encourage mothers who are struggling to give up smoking

Unborn babies appear to grimace in the womb when their mother lights up, scientists have shown, demonstrating the harmful effects of smoking during pregnancy.

The tiny movements were captured in the faces of the foetuses during using 4D ultrasound scans.

Pregnant women have long been urged to give up cigarettes because they yuksekliken the risk of premature birth, respiratory problems and even cot death.

Now researchers believe they can show the effects of smoking on babies in the womb - and use the images to encourage mothers who are struggling to give up.

Dr Nadja Reissland has studied moving 4D scan images and recorded thousands of tiny movements in the womb.

She monitored 20 mothers attending the James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough, four of whom smoked an average of 14 cigarettes a day.

After studying their scans at 24, 28, 32 and 36 weeks, she detected that foetuses whose mothers smoked continued to show significantly higher rates of mouth movement and self-touching than those carried by non-smokers.

Foetuses usually move their mouths and touch themselves less as they gain more control the closer they get to birth.

Fetus of a mother who smoked up to 14 cigarettes a day (left) and fetus of a non-smoking mother (right)

The pilot study, which Dr Reissland hopes to expand with a bigger sample, indicated that babies carried by smokers may have delayed development of the central nervous system.

The research, conducted by Durham and Lancaster University, is published in the journal Acta Paediatrica.

Dr Reissland, from Durham's Psychology Department, said: "A larger study is needed to confirm these results and to investigate specific effects, including the interaction of maternal stress and smoking."