4D Ultrasound Scans Reveal Unborn Babies ‘Laugh’ At Carrots, ‘Cry’ With Kale

Image via FETAP (Fetal Taste Preferences) Study, Fetal and Neonatal Research Lab, Durham University


According to science, we hate kale before we were even born.


Doctors have long suspected that a mother’s food directly affects her unborn child. However, it isn’t until now that we have had some proof in the form of high-tech images of fetuses wincing at the taste. 


In a study published in Psychological Science, about 100 pregnant women in northeast England by Durham University participated to see if opinions on food already exist when one is still in their mother’s womb. 


Image via Beyza Ustun et. al., Psychological Science



The women were separated into three groups. One group took a capsule of kale before an ultrasound, the other group had a carrot capsule, and the last was the control group. 


Funnily enough, the group that ate the kale was twice as likely to find their unborn babies pulling a “crying face” at the taste. On the other hand, the group that ate the carrots took the scan and found the little ones in “laughter.” 


Understandably, even as adults, we can relate to the fetuses’ reactions.


Image via Beyza Ustun et. al., Psychological Science


According to New Atlas, Jackie Blissett, a co-author of the study, notes that it isn’t the sugar in the carrots that makes them happy to taste it, as sugar is tightly regulated during pregnancy. Instead, what is most likely happening is the other flavors of the carrot coming through, or even the mother’s positive response to it as well. 


Still, it is interesting to see how fetuses instinctively react to flavors without knowing what they are eating. Ultimately, the doctors are also using the project to better convey to expecting mothers how eating significantly affects their unborn. 


To follow the research, scientists are examining the post-birth effects of these same children to see if their response to kale and carrots change as they begin to eat solid food. 




[via IFLScience and The Guardian, images via various sources]


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