A recent study conducted by researchers at the British University of Durham revealed exciting information about the interaction of fetuses in the womb with what their mothers eat. .

The study monitored the interaction of fetuses with flavors of foods eaten by their mothers, and researchers provided new evidence that children react differently to distinctive smells and tastes while in the womb, by recording their facial expressions in a four-dimensional ultrasound.

Kale is a type of leafy vegetable (pixabi).

Remarkable and surprising reaction

The study was conducted on 100 British women pregnant between 32 and 36 weeks, and their ages ranged between 18 and 40 years.

Before the start of the experiment, the participants were asked not to eat any flavored food or drink one hour before the examination, and the mothers did not eat or drink anything containing carrots or kale on the day of the examination, to ensure that it did not affect the results.

The researchers gave each expectant mother one tablet containing approximately 400 milligrams of powdered carrot or leafy greens.

Study co-author Professor Nadja Resland explained to NBC why the team chose kale powder in the trial, "to ensure flavors were preserved from diluting during digestion, and many pregnant women could not stand the taste of kale juice."

So here it is.

The first direct evidence that the human fetus shows facial responses to flavors from maternal diet.

Can you guess which fetus's mum had kale, and which had carrot?

@AstonPsychology @AstonPeach @Aston_IHN link to study in comments.


— Prof.

Jackie Blissett (@profblissett) September 22, 2022

Pictures of the fetuses showed their facial expressions that changed significantly in response to the food.

Those whose mothers ate carrots, their smiles were evident in the pictures, while those whose mothers ate leafy vegetables appeared with frowning facial expressions.

Their facial expressions and movements resemble those of children or adults when they taste something bitter.

However, this does not mean that the fetuses hated the leafy greens, rather their facial expressions may have been only a reaction to the bitter taste.

The study does not prove that fetuses prefer carrots over kale, but rather that babies in the womb begin to develop their senses of taste and smell.

first of its kind

The results of the study, published in the journal Psychological Science, could advance scientists' understanding of how human taste and smell receptors develop.

The fetuses are believed to experience different flavors of food by inhaling and swallowing the "amniotic" fluid surrounding them in the womb, and their facial expressions depicted showed that small amounts of carrot and kale flavors were enough to trigger a response.

"The results of the study showed that the fetuses in the last three months of pregnancy had matured enough to distinguish the different foods transferred from the mother," said Besa Aston, the Turkish researcher who led the research.

Aston highlighted what distinguishes the results of this study from similar studies, and said that "several studies have reported that babies in the womb can taste and smell, but this research is based on results observed after birth, while our study is the first to monitor these reactions before birth."

Mother's food is the future of the child

Experts believe - based on the study - that the foods that mothers eat during pregnancy can shape the taste of their children after birth, and may affect healthy eating habits.

Researcher Aston, who is a PhD student in the Department of Psychology at Durham University, said: "Researchers believe that repeated exposure of fetuses to food flavors before birth can help determine a child's food preferences after birth, which is important to consider when studying healthy eating and the possibility of Avoid being disturbed by food when weaning.

She continued that the results of the study indicate the possibility of changing children's preferences in foods, and said that "there are a lot of healthy vegetables, and unfortunately they taste bitter and do not usually appeal to children, and suggest that we may change their desire for these foods before they are born by modifying the mother's diet during pregnancy."

She expressed her enthusiasm when observing the children's facial expressions and their change, and said, "It was really amazing during the research to see the interaction of children in their mothers' womb with the flavors of leafy vegetables or carrots, and we share those moments with their parents."

Researchers: Frequent exposure of fetuses to food flavors before birth may help determine baby's preferences after birth (Getty Images)

New horizons and deeper understanding

The study opens new avenues for a deeper understanding of the behavior of children in the womb.

This was explained by Professor Resland, who is head of the Laboratory of Fetal and Newborn Research at Durham University, who said: "The study could have an important impact on understanding early evidence of the abilities of fetuses to sense and distinguish between the different flavors and aromas of foods eaten by their mothers."

Pointing to her home country, Aston highlighted the importance of taking cultural differences into account, telling CNN, "More research needs to be done on pregnant women from different cultural backgrounds. For example, I come from Turkey, and in my own culture." We like to eat bitter foods, and it is very interesting to see the reactions of Turkish children to the bitter taste."

The next step for the study is to monitor and examine whether fetuses show less negative responses to these flavors over time, leading to more acceptance of those flavors when babies first taste them outside the womb, explained co-author Professor Jackie Plessett.

Now researchers have already begun following the babies themselves after birth, to see if the flavors they were exposed to in the womb affected their acceptance of different foods during infancy.