Photos of babies in the womb reacting to various foods eaten by their mothers have been published for the first time.
The fetuses were caught grimacing when they tasted and smelled vegetables but smiled for carrots.
Scientists from Durham University have demonstrated that babies react differently to different smells and tastes in the womb by recording their facial expressions.
The experts took 4D ultrasound scans of 100 pregnant women to study how their unborn babies reacted after being exposed to flavors from foods eaten by their mothers.
They studied how the fetuses responded to either carrot or kale flavors shortly after the mothers ingested the flavors.
Fetuses exposed to carrots showed more “laugh-face” reactions, while those exposed to kale showed more “wine-face” reactions.
Their findings could advance understanding of how human taste and smell receptors develop, the university’s Fetal and Neonatal Research Lab said.
They also believe that what mothers eat during pregnancy could influence babies’ taste preferences after birth and have implications for establishing healthy eating habits.
Fetuses are believed to experience taste by inhaling and swallowing amniotic fluid in the womb.
Postgraduate Beyza Ustun, who led the research, said: “A number of studies have shown that babies can taste and smell in the womb, but they are based on results after birth, while our study is the first to show these responses before birth birth observed.
“As a result, we believe that this repeated exposure to flavors before birth might help set dietary preferences after birth, which might be important when thinking about healthy eating.”
“It was really amazing to see the unborn babies’ reaction to kale or carrot flavors during the scans and to share those moments with their parents.”
The mothers were scanned at 32 and 36 weeks gestation to see fetal facial responses to the kale and carrot tastes.
The mothers received a single capsule containing about 400 mg of carrot powder or 400 mg of kale powder about 20 minutes before each scan and did not eat anything flavored for an hour beforehand.
The study is published in the journal psychological science.
https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/health/amazing-pictures-show-babies-in-womb-smiling-and-pulling-sad-faces-in-reaction-to-different-food-tastes-42006756.html Amazing images show babies in the womb smiling and pulling sad faces in response to different tastes