Pregnancy is a wonderful experience. Even before you realize it, a little life starts growing inside you. Your body goes through a lot of changes in order to nourish and protect the precious little thing growing inside you. As the little one starts growing inside the uterus, your belly starts growing, heart starts pumping more blood, your bones and joints prepare to support the increasing weight. A mom’s body provides her unborn baby with home, food, comfort and protection. As you progress in your pregnancy, the development of your unborn baby is also amazing. And believe it or not, there are stuff your baby will enjoy while still snuggled inside your womb. All this will help creating a strong bond between the mother and her baby. It might sound crazy but have you ever wondered what your baby can taste inside the womb? Can your baby taste all the food you eat? Can the food you eat during your pregnancy affect your baby’s food preferences in the future? Read on to get your answers.
Can The Baby Taste Before She Is Born?
Yes, your baby can taste long before she is born. She can start tasting from the time she is in week 14 or week 16 when her taste buds are formed. Here is the step-wise process that leads up to this:
- Week 1 – Week 8: Brain cells start spreading from the brain to different parts of the body, including baby’s mouth (or the area where the mouth will eventually form)
- Week 8: Taste buds are formed in the area where baby’s tongue will be. The brain cells (or neurons) that branched off in the initial weeks connect to these taste buds. These taste buds are essentially receptors for key tastes like sweet, salty, bitter and sour
- Week 14 – Week 16: Taste pores are created on the tongue. These are small pores or pits on the surface of baby’s tongue that allow food molecules to come in contact with taste buds, thereby initiating the taste to reach brain cells
How Do Babies Taste In The Uterus?
They swallow the amniotic fluid around them. As the baby grows, they start consuming more and more amniotic fluid daily and this increases her interaction with taste. In fact, by the seventh month, she will be swallowing one liter of amniotic fluid per day!
What Can Your Baby Taste In The Uterus?
In short, the taste of the amniotic fluid is strongly linked to the taste of the food the mother consumes. When you eat something, you know that the nutrients (proteins, vitamins and minerals) in your diet find their way to the amniotic fluid. Similarly, although your digestive system is different from that of your baby, food molecules find their way to the amniotic fluid. Although the flavors will not be as distinctive as it is for us, your baby can still taste pungent meals, saltiness, spiciness, taste of garlic, and most importantly, sweetness! The taste is not “distinctive” for the bay mainly because she does not have the sense of smell yet like we do.
Could This Be The Antidote To The Picky Eater?
Now, babies are naturally predisposed to love sweet taste. This is nature’s way of making sure that your child likes breastmilk. But the important point to note about the baby’s prenatal tasting exercises is that by the time they are born, they will have a strong sense of taste and food preferences. Of course, actual food consumption will not begin for months, but research shows that what you consume during pregnancy has a strong link to what the child will eat in future. For instance, if the mother has consumed a lot of carrot juice during pregnancy, then the child is used to the taste and once she is on solids and juices, she is more likely to adapt to carrot juice faster. The other side of this is that if the pregnant mother eats a lot of sweets and junk foods, the kids are also predisposed to like such food better. So, watch what you eat mommies!
What Should You Eat During Pregnancy?
- Educate yourself on good foods to eat during pregnancy. Refer to The Pregnancy Food Pyramid for more information
- Make sure you have a balanced diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables that are safe to consume during pregnancy. Refer to 10 Foods To Definitely Avoid During Pregnancy
- Just because a food item is healthy, do not over consume it. Keep changing your food items so that you can broaden the taste palate of the young one
- Avoid salty, junk food and processed food items. Try to keep your diet as natural as possible
- Do not add sugar to everything you eat
- Indulge in food with distinctive and strong tastes – stronger the taste, higher the chances of your baby tasting it and remembering the taste when born
So, in short, keep your diet clean and exciting – so that you create a healthy relationship between your baby and food for years to come. Having said that, don’t worry about giving into your unhealthy cravings occasionally . Your baby will definitely relish the variety of tastes you provide.
Do you see any connection between what you ate while pregnant and your kid’s tastes? Or did yours contradict it? Please do share your experience in the comments section below.