Pregnancy is, without doubt, amazing. Even on the hardest days of your pregnancy, as you struggle against nausea, leg cramp and getting yourself up off the sofa, it’s pretty hard to ignore the wonder of growing a life inside you. Each week, as you flick through the pages of a book, or swipe to the next section of your app, it’s exciting to find out how your baby is growing and developing.
So for those of you who are currently struggling with [insert your annoying pregnancy symptom here], here are some facts to help keep you smiling. Check out these amazing things your baby could be doing right now inside your uterus:
#1: Tasting Your Dinner
When you eat certain foods, the flavours can be detected in your amniotic fluid. Garlic, anise, ginger and sweet flavours are all known to alter the flavour of amniotic fluid. Researchers believe this is nature’s way of preparing the baby for the flavours of the food he is likely to eat when he enters the world. From as early as week 15, your baby will begin to show a preference for sweet flavours by swallowing more amniotic fluid when it is sweet, and less when it is bitter.
#2: Opening Her Eyes
There might not be much to see in there, but your baby will open his eyes sometime around week 28. He won’t be able to see much, but will start reacting to light during the second trimester. Researchers have observed developing babies moving away from light. Bright light may filter through your abdomen and reach your baby, this won’t cause him any harm though he may try to turn away from it from as early as 15 weeks.
#3: Having A Wee
Having a wee might not sound like something amazing, especially when you’re 30 weeks pregnant and wee all the time, but give this one a chance. You better get used to baby wee pretty quickly, because once your baby arrives, it will be on your sofa, in your face (yes, those of you expecting little boys) and, perhaps, even in your cup of tea (some little chaps have really good aim). In order to perfect the skills necessary for these hilarious (and oh-so-gross) pees, your babe better start practicing now.
By the end of the first trimester, your baby will start producing urine. Amniotic fluid is swallowed, digested, filtered by the kidneys, and then urinated back into the uterus, and the process is repeated. By watching this process during an ultrasound scan, sonographers can identify potential problems with the baby’s swallowing reflex.
The umbilical cord provides your baby with all of the oxygen he needs during pregnancy, but your baby is still busy practicing breathing for when he’s born. At just nine weeks, he starts going through the motions, practicing breathing and perfecting this necessary life skill. Your baby’s first breath is triggered by the sudden change in both temperature and environment as he enters the world. That’s why, if you choose to have a water birth, the pool water must be at body temperature when the baby is born. This delays the temperature change, and thus the first breath, until the baby is lifted out of the pool. With the umbilical cord still attached, your baby will continue to get oxygen.
For the first few weeks of motherhood, you’ll find yourself willing your baby to smile. After all, you’re busy changing nappies, feeding and generally not sleeping, surely they could just offer you a flash of those gums as reassurance that you’re doing a good job? Fear not, because your developing baby could be practicing his winning smile this very moment from the comfort of your uterus. Using 4D scans, sonographers have discovered that babies smile in the womb from around week 26.
Hiccups can start as early as the first trimester, though you might not be able to feel them until much later in the pregnancy. Some women may never feel their baby hiccup, but for others it can be a daily occurrence in the second half of the pregnancy.
This one might break your heart a little, but there’s a chance your little one could be crying silently in your womb this very minute. Using ultrasound technology, scientists were able to identify crying behaviours in developing babies. Researchers have even noted that babies exhibit a trembling bottom lip when crying in utero. Crying is an important communication tool for new babies, and it’s one they need to perfect before they enter the world.
Your baby doesn’t have the internet to help her seek out articles for bonding during pregnancy, but don’t worry, she doesn’t need them. Your baby is already busy bonding with you as you go about your daily life. During the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, babies have been found to actively listen to their mothers’ voices. He might not yet understand what you’re saying, but he’s paying close attention to how you say it. Thanks to all of this time spent listening to you moan about your indigestion, your baby will be able to recognise your voice as soon as he is born.