Study Shows Babies in the Womb ‘Smile’ When They Eat Carrots and ‘Get Hungry’ When They Eat Kale

Embryonic and Neonatal Research Laboratory, University of Durham

Here’s how this fetus reacted 20 minutes after his mother ate a capsule of carrot powder.

If the taste of kale makes you swoon, you’re not alone. Scientists have found that after eating carrots from the mother, the fetuses in the womb begin to smile, and after eating cabbage they raise their eyebrows.

The Fetal and Newborn Research Laboratory at Durham University in the UK says this is the first direct evidence to show Fetus responding to different tastes in real time.

The researchers studied almost 100 pregnant women and their unborn babies in England. He gave carrot powder in 35 female capsules and kale powder to another 34 pregnant women.

The remaining 30 women were part of a control group and did not even consume it.

real-time responses

In a study published in the journal psychological scienceThe group reported that 20 minutes after the mothers swallowed the capsules, 4D ultrasounds showed that most cabbage-exposed fetuses appeared to growl.

Meanwhile, people who came into contact with carrots were seen smiling.

The control group of 30 pregnant women who ate nothing did not have the same response.

Embryonic and Neonatal Research Laboratory, University of Durham

This image from the FETAP (fetal taste preferences) study shows a fetus radiating to the right in response to the taste of black.

Previous studies have suggested that our food preferences can start before birthSince the amniotic fluid that surrounds the fetus can taste different depending on the diet of the pregnant woman.

But this new study from Durham University claims to be the first to directly examine unborn babies’ response to different tastes.

When does the fetus start to smell the taste?

“We know from previous research that the nutrition the fetus receives through the mother’s diet is really important for later healthy development. But we don’t know exactly when you start[feeling these tastes].” happened),” says Nadja Riesland, co-author of the study and director of the Embryology and Neonatal Research Laboratory at Durham University.

“Unborn babies show their preference for sugar at 14 weeks gestation,” he told the BBC.

A fetus in the womb

Getty Images

Previous studies have shown that food preferences can begin before birth, when the fetus tastes the flavors that are in the amniotic fluid that surrounds it.

“For our experiment, we gave powder capsules to unborn babies at 32 and 36 weeks gestation (pregnancy usually lasts 40 weeks in total), as their expressions become more and more complex.

“We want to continue our research and record data on these unborn babies after birth, and see if they respond to carrots and kale.” as they did in the womb,

“We hope they will get used to greens after birth and will therefore be more likely to eat greens for a healthier diet.”

What does this experiment tell us about the evolution of taste?

Riesland says this indicates that taste develops very quickly and also depends on the environment of the food.

“Once the fetus knows what the mother’s diet is after birth get used to this diet And he will continue to eat the diet.

bitter taste associated with poison

It also indicates another reason why the fetus may reject the bitter taste.

“We associate a bitter taste with danger and react accordingly,” he says.

“But since not all bitter tastes indicate poison, we need to educate ourselves and our children to overcome this reaction. Some bitter foods are healthy and good for us.

However, he adds that while the ultrasound images suggest a reaction similar to that of an adult who tastes somewhat bitter, still not known Is the unborn child really experiencing feelings or troubles.

“The smile and grin seen on ultrasound may simply be muscle movements that react to sour tastes,” Reisland says, though he adds that embryos are known to make facial expressions.

carrots and kale

Getty Images

Carrots made babies smile in their wombs, while kale made them look like they were pulling faces.

What do other scientists think?

An associate professor of neonatology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr. Daniel Robinson, who was not involved in the research, told NBC that people shouldn’t interpret ultrasound images as showing that fetuses are expressing joy or disgust.

For its part, the British newspaper The Guardian reports an expert in this field, the doctor of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia. Julie Mennella, who was not involved in the study, said the work supports previous findings This shows that sons learn about their mother’s diet through the taste of food in amniotic fluid.

The newspaper also quoted Professor Katherine Forestell of the College of William and Mary in Virginia, who welcomed continued research into how a fetus reacts to its mother’s food.

anger eater

Beyza Uston, who led the research, said: “Several studies have suggested that babies can taste and smell in the womb. But they are based on what we see after birth, whereas our study is The first person to see these reactions before birth,

“We believe that this repeated exposure to taste before birth may help establish food preferences after birth, which is important when thinking about healthy eating messages and the ability to avoid ‘fussy eating’. . Maybe.”

So in practice, the research could provide clues to new moms and dads who want to make sure their babies aren’t picky eaters.

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A study shows that babies in the womb "smile"  When they eat carrots and &Quot;Hungry&Quot;  When they eat kale

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