United Kingdom – The facial expressions of a group of unborn babies, captured via 4D ultrasound, are the first direct evidence for a group of scientists that the fetus reacts to the taste of food eaten by the mother.
The Durham University (UK)-led team conducted ultrasound scans on more than 100 pregnant women to see how the fetus reacts to the taste of carrots or kale soon after the mother eats it.
The university said in a statement that fetuses exposed to carrots showed greater “laughing face” responses, while those exposed to black showed greater “crying face” responses.
The authors, who published their findings in Psychological Science, believe they may advance our understanding of the development of human taste and olfactory receptors and suggest that what pregnant women eat may contribute to the development of babies after birth. May affect taste preferences.
Human beings perceive taste through a combination of taste and smell. In fetuses, it is thought that this can happen by inhaling and swallowing amniotic fluid in the womb.
In the words of one of the signatories, Benoist Schaal from the University of Burgundy (France), observing the facial responses of the fetuses “we can assume that a series of chemical stimuli passes from the maternal diet into the fetal environment”.
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“It was really amazing to see unborn babies react to the taste of kale or carrots during the scan and share those moments with their parents,” said the team, led by Durham University’s Beyza Uston.
The study group included women ages 18 to 40 at 32 and 36 weeks of pregnancy who received a capsule containing about 400 mg of carrot or black powder approximately 20 minutes before each scan.
Participants were not allowed any foods or flavored drinks for an hour before the scan, and they did not eat anything with carrots or kale that day, to control for factors that could influence fetal responses.
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The responses observed in both taste groups, compared to fetuses in a control group that were not exposed to any flavorings, showed that exposure to a small amount of either carrot or kale flavorings “was sufficient to stimulate a response.” ,” said the university.
According to Nadja Riesland, one of the authors of the research, this study may have “important implications for understanding the first evidence of the abilities of fetuses to perceive and discriminate the different tastes and smells of food eaten by their mothers”. .
The researchers say their findings may also help inform mothers about the importance of taste and a healthy diet during pregnancy.