Even babies in the womb wrinkle their noses when mum puts something they don’t like into them.
For the first time, scientists have been able to observe how fetuses react to different types of food: In this case, they tested different vegetables.
Previous studies have also suggested that food preferences can arise before birth, but this will be the very first time you can see with your own eyes how the baby in the womb reacts.
And one specific food made the child make “sour” faces more often – can you guess which one?
Carrot or kale?
To find out whether fetuses distinguish between different tastes, the researchers studied ultrasound images from approximately 70 pregnant women. The study was conducted in England.
The mothers were divided into two groups.
One group was asked to take a capsule of powdered kale, while the other group received a capsule of powdered carrot.
These were taken approximately 20 minutes before the ultrasound. The other vegetable intake among the mothers was similar before the experiment.
The researchers also examined images from a group of mothers who were not part of the actual study.
The search for different facial expressions among the children then began.
A surprising result
In total, the researchers examined 180 images of 99 fetuses. They were then 32 or 36 weeks old.
The results showed that the unborn gave signs of displeasure twice as often when kale was eaten, compared to carrot or no capsule at all.
When the mother ate a carrot, however, it was seen that the fetuses more often made a laughing-like expression.
Dr. Benoist Schaal is a researcher on the project, and to The Guardian he says that the clarity of the results is surprising.
– The mother has not yet had time to finish her meal before the fetus is already aware of, or able to sense, what she is eating.
May have an effect later in life
Humans experience taste through a combination of taste and smell. In fetuses, it is assumed that this can happen by breathing in, as well as swallowing amniotic fluid in the womb.
The researchers believe these findings can provide a better understanding of how we as humans develop both the sense of taste and smell, as well as
Perception is sensory impressions or perceptions and the subsequent interpretation of these. Perception involves two steps: that one or more sensory organs are stimulated, and that this stimulation is interpreted and results in an experience.
” data-term=”perception”>perception and memory.
Professor Jackie Blissett from Aston University believes that exposing children in the womb to different flavors can have a positive effect.
– Exposing the fetus to flavors they “don’t prefer” in the womb, such as kale, can mean they get used to it.
– Now the next step is to see if they show less negative responses to these flavors over time. And if it results in greater acceptance of these after the children are born, says Blissett.