Research shows that fetuses smile at carrots but grimace at kale

The fetus produced more “smiling faces” in the womb when exposed to the taste of carrots consumed by the mother and produced more “crying face” responses when exposed to Kalefollow a research published in the journal Psychological Science on Wednesday.

Study leader Beyza Ustun, a graduate researcher at the Fetal and Neonatal Research Laboratory at Durham University, UK, told CNN Thursday via email: “We decided to do the study. Learn more about the baby’s ability to taste and smell in the womb.

While some studies have suggested that infants can taste and smell in the womb using results after birth, “our study is the first to show direct evidence of this response.” of the fetus with the taste in the womb,” Ustun added.

“The findings suggest that the fetus in the third trimester of pregnancy is mature enough to distinguish the different tastes transferred from the mother’s diet.”

The study looked at the healthy fetuses of 100 women between the ages of 18 and 40 who were 32 to 36 weeks pregnant in north-east England.

From there, 35 women were included in the experimental group consuming organic kale capsules, 35 were included in the carrot capsule group, and 30 were included in the control group not exposed to Spice.

A 4D scan of the same fetus shows a crying face reaction after being exposed to a kale flavor.

Participants were asked not to consume any flavored foods or beverages an hour before the scan. Also, don’t eat or drink anything containing carrots or kale on the day of your test to make sure it doesn’t affect the results.

While the carrot flavor could be described as “sweet” by adults, kale was chosen because it imparts a more bitter taste to infants than other greens like spinach, broccoli or bamboo shoots. west, according to the study.

Research shows that vegetarian and carnivorous children have similar growth rates and nutrition but not in weight.

After waiting for 20 minutes after defecation, women were given 4D ultrasound, compared with 2D images of the fetus.

Pulling the corners of the lips, suggesting laughter or laughter, was significantly higher in the carrot group than in the kale and control groups. While movements such as upper lip curl, lower lip pursed, lip press, and combinations of these movements – suggestive of a crying face – were much more common in the kale group than in the other groups.

“By now, we all know the importance of (a) a healthy diet for children,” says Mr. Ustun. She added that research shows “we can change their preferences for such foods before they are born by adjusting” a mother’s diet during pregnancy.

She added: “We know that having a healthy diet during pregnancy is very important for a baby’s health.

Improved imaging technology

According to Professor Nadja Reissland, head of the Fetal and Neonatal Research Laboratory at Durham University, advances in technology have enabled the creation of better images of a fetus’s face in the womb. . Reissland, who supervised the research, developed the Fetal Movement Observable System (FMOS), whereby 4D ultrasound scans are encoded.

“As technology advances, ultrasound images will get better and more accurate,” she told CNN, adding that “this” allows us to encode the fetal facial movements according to the baby’s facial expression. frame by frame in detail and over time”.

Researchers have now begun a follow-up study with identical babies after birth to see if the tastes they experienced in the womb affect their acceptance of different foods in childhood or not, according to the press release.

All of the women participating in the study were Caucasian and British.

“Further research needs to be done with pregnant women from different cultures,” Ustun told CNN. “For example, I come from Turkey and in my culture we like to eat bitter foods. It will be interesting to see how Turkish children will react to bitterness. “

She added that “genetic differences in taste sensitivity (either supertaste or non-taste) may influence fetal responses to bitter and non-bitter tastes.”

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