The Daily Telegraph

Unborn babies see red when mothers eat their greens


UNBORN infants grimace and cry when their mothers eat kale but carrots elicit a smile of pleasure, a study has found.

Scientists previously knew a child’s palate was shaped before birth but now they have caught on camera babies reacting differentl­y to various smells and tastes while still in the womb.

Researcher­s at Durham University gave 100 women 400mg capsules containing concentrat­ed flavours of carrot and kale and 20 minutes later performed a 4D ultrasound scan to see how the foetuses responded. Those exposed to carrot showed more “laughter-faces” while those whose mother had a kale capsule often showed a “cry-face”.

Tests have shown that what a woman eats during her pregnancy is detectable in her amniotic fluid and the foetus develops a taste for familiar flavours.

Lead researcher Beyza Ustun said: “We think that this repeated exposure to flavours before birth could help to establish food preference­s post-birth, which could be important when thinking about messaging around healthy eating and the potential for avoiding ‘food-fussiness’ when weaning. It was really amazing to see unborn babies’ reaction during the scans and share those moments with their parents.”

Prof Jackie Blissett, of Aston University, added: “The next step is to examine whether foetuses show less negative responses to these flavours over time, resulting in greater acceptance when babies first taste them outside the womb.” The study was published in the journal Psychologi­cal Science.

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 ?? ?? A 4D scan of a foetus showing its neutral face, left, and a smile after tasting carrot
A 4D scan of a foetus showing its neutral face, left, and a smile after tasting carrot

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