When a baby is born, he/she is not completely unaware of the world outside. Your little one gets used to sensations from the womb itself. Surprised? Your baby is not cocooned from the outside world. From the moment of conception, he/she is introduced to the world in one way or the other at different phases of development. The voices, touch, and taste your little one experience in utero help the baby get used to the environment he/she will enter at birth. Here are the four amazing things your little love can feel in the womb.
1. Mother’s Touch
Do you keep your hands on your belly often? Well, keep doing it. Because your baby recognizes your touch during pregnancy. In fact, a mother’s touch elicits the greater response from your baby when he/she is in the womb.
A research studied 23 healthy pregnant women who were between 21 weeks and 33 weeks to look at what behaviors resulted in the greatest response from fetuses. The research found that when the mothers stroked and rubbed their abdomen, the baby had more movements than when the women did nothing or when they spoke to the baby.
Your baby develops the sense of hearing by the second trimester of pregnancy. He/she can detect sounds from outside your body. Your baby’s ears continue to develop throughout the first and second trimester. Once they develop completely, your baby may not be living in a quiet place anymore. The gurgle of your stomach, the noises the digestive system make, the sound of your heartbeat – everything reaches his/her ears.
When he/she reaches week 24, your little miracle will turn the head in response to voices and noises. Your baby will be more responsive to your voice. It is found that a fetus’s heart rate increases when she hears her mother’s voice. So, start talking to your baby, sing lullabies, and tell stories.
Wondering whether loud noise can hurt your baby? In most cases, the walls of the uterus, and fat and muscle in the abdominal cavity dampen sound waves and in the end, sounds are muffled. However, continuous exposure to sounds over 90-100 decibel may not be good for your baby.
It is true that your baby’s eyelids are closed and will not reopen until about the 28th week. In the third trimester, your baby’s eyelids can open and close. Some experts say that the fetus will turn away from a very bright light. At 33 weeks, your baby’s pupils can change size in response to a stimulus caused by light. It is widely believed that the baby may detect a bright light outside your tummy.
Surprise! Your baby’s sense of taste starts developing early in pregnancy. If you don’t want to end up with a picky eater, expose your baby to different tastes during pregnancy itself. A growing body of research has backed up the claim that the foods you eat during those nine months help you shape your baby’s eating habits.
By week 16, your baby will develop taste pores on the surface of the tongue. And your baby will experience his/her first taste around this time. Since the food you eat makes their way into the amniotic fluid, your baby will also enjoy a bit of it. However, flavors will not be as strong as yours. So ladies, fall in love with a balanced and varied diet during pregnancy, otherwise, you will have to deal with a fussy eater in the end.
Can Fetuses Feel Pain?
The question of fetal pain is a highly debated topic. The debate is often associated with the discussion of fetal pain with women requesting abortions. Some people insist on informing women prior to performing an abortion that their unborn child can feel pain at 20 weeks gestation or later. Is the fetal pain real?
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the fetus is not capable of feeling pain until the third trimester, which begins at about 27 weeks of pregnancy. A fetus’s brain and nervous system do not have the capacity to process, recognize or feel pain during the second trimester. Another research points out that the neural circuitry for pain in fetuses is immature. It suggests that the developmental processes necessary for the mindful experience of pain are not yet developed. Well, it still remains a complex science. Since pain is always a subjective experience, we may not get a finite answer to explain it.