A new study published this week revealed that fetuses develop a more “cry-face” response in the womb when exposed to the taste of kale eaten by their mother, and a more “smile-face” response when exposed to carrots.
“The results of this study have important implications for understanding the early evidence of the fetus’s ability to perceive and discriminate different tastes,” the researchers wrote in the published study. Sage Journals.
They looked at healthy fetuses from about 100 women in England. Researchers gave mothers capsules containing powder versions of two foods. 35 women were placed in an experimental group that received an organic kale capsule, 35 were placed in a group that received a carrot capsule, and 30 were placed in a control group that was not exposed to the dried flavor.
About 20 minutes later, the researchers said 4D ultrasound scans showed that most of the fetuses exposed to kale looked like faces, while most of the fetuses exposed to carrots appeared to be smiling. On the other hand, the control group had the same response.
Keen on carrots, not so keen on ink…
— Durham University (@durham_uni) September 22, 2022
“When the fetuses were exposed to the smell of carrots, they were more likely to show a ‘smile-face’ response, and when they were exposed to the smell of kale, they were more likely to show a ‘cry-face’ response,” the researchers wrote.
“We also found that mouth responses to taste became more complex as the fetus matured,” they added.
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Now, the study’s researchers are proposing, based on the findings, that repeated exposure to certain flavors in the womb may be a factor in establishing food preferences after birth. They believe that if a fetus is regularly exposed to vegetables like kale while in the womb, they may be more likely to tolerate or enjoy it later in life.
Researchers also say that mothers who eat a healthy diet while pregnant may also find that their babies are less picky eaters. However, the study’s authors noted that more research is still needed to definitively determine whether fetuses are capable of experiencing emotions, likes and dislikes.