Fetuses make more of a "cry-face" in the womb when exposed to the flavour of kale consumed by their mother and make more of a "laughter-face" response when exposed to carrots, a new study released this week revealed.
"Findings of this study have important implications for understanding the earliest evidence for fetal abilities to sense and discriminate different flavours," researchers wrote in the study published in Sage Journals.
They looked at the healthy fetuses of around 100 women in England. Researchers gave the mothers capsules containing powder versions of the two foods. 35 women were put into an experimental group that consumed an organic kale capsule, 35 were put into a group that took a carrot capsule, and 30 were put into a control group that was not exposed to wither flavour.
About 20 minutes later, researchers said that 4D ultrasound scans showed most of the fetuses exposed to kale appeared to grimace, while most exposed to the carrot appeared to smile. The control group, on the other hand, did have the same response.
Keen on carrot, not so keen on kale…— Durham University (@durham_uni) September 22, 2022
Fetuses make “laugh” or “cry” faces in reaction to different flavours according to @FetalLab@DurhamPsych.
This is the 1st direct evidence that fetuses react differently to various tastes & smells in the womb 👉 https://t.co/13UKS7IjVMpic.twitter.com/xAqXGDqxQl
"When fetuses were exposed to carrot flavour, they were more likely to show 'laughter-face' reactions, and when they were exposed to kale flavour, they were more likely to show 'cry-face" reactions'," researchers wrote.
"We also found that facial responses to flavours became more complex as fetuses matured," they added.
Now, researchers of the study are proposing, based on the findings, that repeated exposure to certain flavours in the womb may be a factor in establishing food preferences after birth. They believe that if a fetus were routinely exposed to a vegetable like kale while in the womb, they may be more likely to tolerate or enjoy it later in life.
Researchers also said that mothers who have healthy diets while they are pregnant may also find that their babies are less fussy eaters. However, the authors of the study noted that further research is still needed to determine definitely if fetuses are capable of experiencing emotions, likes, and dislikes.