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  • 7 Surprising Things You Probably Didn't Know Your Baby Can Do in the Womb

    Be in awe of the many things your baby in the womb can already do!
    by Rachel Perez .
7 Surprising Things You Probably Didn't Know Your Baby Can Do in the Womb
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Pregnancy is terrific — except for those uncomfortable pregnancy body changes that come with having a bun in the oven. Every time you feel down because of the changes pregnancy brings, focus on this instead: your developing baby in the womb can do a host of other things while your uterus is his home!

    The following things your baby can do in the womb are most likely just the tip of the iceberg — a lot has yet to be explored about fetal development.

    Your unborn baby can see and hear!

    We know that fetuses learn to open their eyes by the 28th week. Though they don't see very much, scientists have proven they do react to bright light, like a flashlight directed at your tummy. He may even turn away from it as early as 15 weeks.

    A baby in the womb also has his sense of hearing — so yes, they hear your voice! — by the 20th week. That's why music is a great way to stimulate his brain. So keep playing that music (just don't think he will become a genius).

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    Your baby in the womb can smell and taste

    Doctors believe that the amniotic fluid passing through the baby's nose and mouth help him "smell" what he eats. By 20 weeks, babies in the womb get their oxygen and nutrition from the mom through the placenta, so your baby smells and tastes what you eat. Experts believe this is how newborns find your breast to latch after birth — they just follow the smell of breast milk!

    Your baby may even develop taste preferences. It's not far-fetched for babies whose moms regularly ate a particular food to also develop a taste for it. At least one study had shown that moms who loved to eat carrots had babies favoring carrots when they first tasted it at six months (of course, it may just be a coincidence.)

    Your baby in the belly loves to move and play!

    You probably know this already! As early as nine weeks, your baby is getting a feel of his space. He jumps, kicks, can somersault, moves in response to sound, and even waves and claps! The movement can surprise you and be a cause of discomfort, but, hey, it's your baby wanting to make his presence felt. Learn more about month-by-month fetal movements here.

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    Unborn babies react and make faces?!

    Perhaps we're pushing our imagination here, but one study used 4D ultrasound scans that showed 24-week-old babies smiling. Little ones in the womb may also jerk in response to sudden movement or loud sound (even if it's just you letting out a sneeze!). At 36 weeks, fetuses seem to react to pain by making facial expressions! Scientists have observed they lower their eyebrows, wrinkle their nose, and stretch their mouth.

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    Your baby in the womb can soothe himself

    Well, that's at least what we're taking away from ultrasound scans where the fetuses appear to be sucking their thumb (not photoshopped) as early as 12 weeks. But stress can have an effect on your baby. One study had expectant mothers watch a disturbing clip for 20 minutes, and it was observed that their babies in the womb experienced the same upset feeling.

    In fact, your baby's first cry isn't when he was born — it may have already happened silently in the womb as early as 28 weeks. An article on WebMD had reported that "video-recorded ultrasound images of third trimester fetuses show that they appeared startled in response to a low-decibel noise played on the mother's abdomen and display crying behavior, such as opening their mouths, depressing their tongues, and taking several irregular breaths before exhaling and settling back down again."

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    Babies in the womb get hiccups!

    It happens when fluid from the amniotic sac enters and exits the baby's lungs, which causes the diaphragm to contract quickly — that's the hiccup. Your baby maybe has the hiccups if you feel a series of tiny, rhythmic and repetitive tapping sensations.

    Your unborn baby dreams (maybe)

    At around 32 to 36 weeks, babies in the womb sleep almost 95 percent of the day. (Some scientist say they yawn, too!) At that time, or maybe even earlier at 23 weeks, they are said to experience rapid eye movement (REM), which is associated with dreaming. But brain waves of fetuses cannot be monitored, so there's no concrete evidence for this.

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