Smoking during pregnancy affects foetal brain development

Acta Paediatr. 2015 Jan;104(1):12-8. doi: 10.1111/apa.12791. Epub 2014 Oct 21.


Environmental factors such as maternal smoking can significantly modulate genetically programmed brain development during foetal life. This review looks at how prenatal smoking exposure modulates brain development, including new evidence on the effects of smoking on foetal brain development and function.

Conclusion: Smoking during pregnancy exposes the foetus to thousands of health-threatening chemicals, restricting foetal body and head growth. Alterations in brain structure and function have been seen in children exposed to prenatal smoking.

Keywords: Diffusion tensor imaging; Foetal development; Nicotine; Tobacco; Volumetric magnetic resonance imaging.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / embryology*
  • Female
  • Fetal Development*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Injuries
  • Smoking / adverse effects*
  • Tobacco Use Cessation Devices