Public Education

Maternal Smoking Habit Modification Via Fetal Visualization

Pretorius, Dolores H. 1996 "Maternal smoking habit modification via fetal visualization." University of California tobacco related disease research program. Annual report to the California State Legislature. 1996: 76

The objective of this work is to reduce rates of maternal smoking, leading to consequent improvement in fetal well-being, neonatal development and maternal health. The consequences of maternal smoking pose long-term as well as immediate hazards to the developing fetus. Fortunately, most pregnant women have some degree of interaction with the health-care system during their pregnancy which offers the opportunity to incorporate smoking cessation assistance in their care.

In our study we are evaluation the effect of fetal viewing from conventional 2-dimensional ultrasound imaging, from 2-dimensional ultrasound imaging and new 3-dimensional imaging combined with smoking cessation assistance and comparing them to a control group of patients who do not undergo ultrasound examinations. We are assessing the maternal smoking cessation motivational levels as well as actual decreases in smoking in women who have an opportunity for increased fetal-maternal bonding resulting from viewing their developing fetuses. To date, we have observed that mothers are very interested in ultrasound studies of thei fetuses be it 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional imagin studies. Patients who undergo ultrasound studies have been given a videotape showing thei fetus inside the uterus. Typically, images of the fetal face, heart, spince, stomach, hands, feet and genitals are recorded for the mother. We have patients enrolled in all three study groups identified in our original proposal but due to the length of pregnancy and follow up time we are unable to make any conclusions regarding our data to date.

The implications of this work is significant in attempting to improve fetal neonatal and maternal health. The economic costs to society, both human and medical, for both the child and the mother are immense. Fetal complications of maternal smoking include increased mortality, prematurity, placental previa and abruption, low birth weight, spontaneous abortion, learning deficits, impaired cognitive development and congenital abnormalities. Pregnancy offers a great opportunity to influence women to stop smoking for their own benefit as well as their child's.

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